“I hate my school”, said little Aisha angrily to her mother Ruqaya. “My teacher doesn’t listen to me. Zunaina pushed me today and took my drawing paper. I told Miss Shanta but she didn’t say anything to Zunaina.” Hearing that, Ruqaya become a bit concerned. This is the third time this week Aisha has complained about something. Yesterday it was for her little teddy who seemed boring to her suddenly. And the other day it was for the unanticipated rain which drenched her while coming from school.
Yes, the rain…wasn’t Ruqaya herself being irritated about the rain few days back? And then about the office meeting where her proposal was overruled? She often gets frustrated about the crazy traffic of the city after returning from office. Then there are household chores which keeps her in her toes. All these things trouble her and she keeps whining about them whenever she is home.
Has Aisha picked this habit of Ruqaya?
Most likely she has. Children echoes the behavior that they see in their surroundings, more specifically, home. If we want our children to behave in a certain way, we must first do that ourselves. Because children give what they receive. If they receive love, care, empathy, compassion, gratitude, they will return the same and vice versa.
In this darkening world of negativity, insecurity and violence it is of enormous importance to cultivate positive and humane qualities among children. Today we will be talking about one such quality, which is Gratitude. We will discuss what are the benefits of gratitude and how we can instill this noble quality in our children.
Gratitude is the quality of being grateful or thankful. It is often felt when a gift is not necessarily deserved or is not given in some sort of reciprocal sense. Gratitude can come in two forms. First one is about the gift one has from nature. Like good health, decent life, beauty of nature, food etc. the other form is felt when someone does something good for you without the expectation of something in return.
Gratitude is a very important practice one can exercise. It is also given to us as a duty from Allah. The five daily prayers of the day are not given to ask Allah for anything, but to show Him gratitude for the life He has given to us, for the fact that He has sent us on earth as Muslims, He has blessed us with food and water, with the love of our close ones, He has given us good health Masha Allah. And we must believe as Muslims that if Allah has asked us to do something, it must have something good in it.
There are great many benefits of gratitude. It is a character strength which makes you a positive and happy person. It helps you to appreciate the little gifts life has given to you and be pleased about it. People with gratitude don’t hold grudges. They are more social as they have a pleasant personality. People tend to like them a lot and respect them. Gratitude makes people less materialistic. It strengthens the relationships between individuals and you will start to inspire others to reciprocate the same behavior and like chain reaction it will develop in everybody. Thus your surrounding will become a better place.
So, how can we teach our children Gratitude? Here are few simple tips:
- Be a role model: The story which we read in the first two paragraphs gives us an idea that what we will do our children will follow. So we should show gratitude for every little thing in front of them. The motive should not only be to teach our children but to do it for one’s own self.
- Show love and care: We should always show how much we love and care for our children. To us they are the most precious and cherished thing and they must know this from us. Because like they say, what they see that they will become one day.
- Spend quality time with them: Your time is the most valuable thing you can give to someone. Give your quality time to your children. Bond with them. Keep distractions like mobile or tab away while you are with them.
- Make them realize the gifts: Our children are living a blessed life. We should make them realize how fortunate they are. They have a roof over their head, food to eat, loving parents, caring friends. These are all gifts for which they should be thankful.
- Practice with them: Everyday take some time out and give thanks to Allah together with your children for the good life. This will encourage them and make a habit. Studies show that it takes only 8 weeks of practice to train your brain to think in the practiced way, the way of gratitude.
- Say thank you to them: Say thank you to your children for being a good kid, for going to school without a tantrum, for bringing a star from teacher, for sharing food with their friends. You can sometimes make a thank you card and draw something on it.
- Gratitude jar: We can ask our children to make a gratitude jar. Where they can list a thing or two every day for which they are thankful for. After a month when they will open the jar they will remember all the good things that have happened to them and this will bring smile on their faces.
Lastly, practice gratitude in your everyday life. Don’t wait for something or someone to be taken away from you to appreciate their value. Start from today.
This is me signing out. Good luck and God bless you.