The holidays are a perfect time to teach our kids the power of gratitude and its capacity to make us happier.
We’re now in the midst of the gratitude season, the weeks between Thanksgiving and the holidays when so many gifts and kind acts are exchanged. What better time to boost our capacity for gratitude, and what reason better than the fact that grateful people are happier.
To understand why, it’s helpful to think of gratitude as a reframing device: a generous mindset that increases our patience, resilience, and optimism as a result. And we’re not just talking about “rose-colored glasses” for seeing the world. Gratitude literally rewires our brains by changing our neuron firing patterns, reshaping the way we process data and giving us a bigger, better context for doing so.
Grateful people can also make our family and friends happier through those expressions of appreciation. In many ways, becoming more grateful is the best gift we can give the people we love most. Gratitude reminds us how inextricably tied we are to each other, tethering us to the communities we’ve built up around ourselves through DNA and through friendship. What more profound way to cement a community than through gratitude?
And who wouldn’t want this for our children as well, especially in the midst of holidays that can so easily slip into the world of “me-mine-more” materialism? Kids already know how good it feels to receive gifts and acts of generosity during the holidays. But if they’ve yet to become familiar with how good it feels to be on the giving end of those holiday gifts then perhaps a crash course in gratitude is the best thing we can give them this season. (Well, that and the latest in tech…don’t worry, they’ve already compiled a list.)
To help inspire your conversation with your kids we’ve gathered a few powerful quotes.