VBRD Corner 11/16/18
Teaching Virtue to Children
Gratitude is attractive. The grateful person tends to be happier, healthier, and more satisfied with their own life. They have an easier time forgiving others and helping others. They worry less and are less likely to get depressed or stressed. Sounds pretty good, right? Who wouldn’t want to be grateful for that description?
But gratitude doesn’t just happen overnight. It is relatively easy to teach a child the habit of saying “thank you”, it’s much harder to help them develop the virtue of gratitude.
Gratitude is more than a habit. It’s more than a good desire. Gratitude is a relationship. We are thankful for things but to people. In order to have an open and grateful heart, a person must have strong relationships. For Christians, the ultimate foundation of all gratitude lies in a relationship with God in which we realize who we are and who God is, and recognize all he freely gives us. Gratitude toward others becomes part of our natural response to God’s goodness; after all, the presence in our lives of other people who love us and care for us is itself a gift from God.
While gratitude has to develop internally, parents can definitely help create conditions that encourage their children to develop this virtue.