Attitude of Gratitude Makes for Happier, Better Students

“Money, money, money” begins the theme song of Donald Trump’s show, “The Apprentice.”  It seems that we all want more of the green stuff, because we think (hope!)  it will make all of our hopes and dreams come true.  And while we push our kids to study hard and do well in school so that they can get a good job and make a good living, there may be one thing we’re forgetting to stress along the way: how important it is to be grateful.

A recent study of adolescents found a negative association between materialism and gratitude.  And gratitude was found to be positively associated with higher academic performance, satisfaction in life, and social integration.  Females were found to have higher levels of gratitude than the males.  Materialism, on the other hand, was associated with higher envy and higher self-consciousness.

As parents, we can model grateful behavior for our children.  If our children see that we can be appreciative and happy with what we have in our lives, they too will learn to incorporate that into their thinking and behavior.  This can have a lifelong impact as they learn to find their place in the world.   We can also teach them to enjoy the present moment and be thankful for all the positive blessings that they have in their life, such as family, health, community and even their social experiences.

One way to help children learn gratitude is through the concept of volunteering.  If you participate in community events as a family, your children will gain the satisfaction of knowing how it feels to help by donating their time.  You can also let your children donate a portion of their money to a charity that they pick out themselves.  By donating their time and money, kids will also learn to appreciate what they have when they see those that are less fortunate.  This can have a very powerful impact on how they view and behave in the world.

By taking the focus off of material possessions, we are teaching our children how to be successful in a world where people too often concentrate solely on money and things.

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