You’ve no extra time to teach character education programs because you’re already a great model of your most cherished character traits.
You want your kids
- To be good students and good kids.
- To be healthy and loving.
- To have lots of friends. And
- You want a little peace of mind knowing you’ve done a darn good job preparing your children for adulthood.
Am I right so far? Excellent. You’ve come to the right place for help. But there’s one more character trait that your kids lack that often nags you.
Can you think of it? Come on, be honest. I know many people say you’re not supposed to want this, but deep in your heart, you do.
When’s the last time your kids made you breakfast in bed? (Mother’s Day doesn’t count).
Or cleaned their rooms without you yelling and screaming? Mostly, you want them to appreciate just a little what they have.
But is this realistic? Can young kids and children ever appreciate what their parents do for them? And should they?
Introducing kids to gratefulness is a difficult, challenging task. Yet, it’s possible to plant the seeds and someday they’ll sprout, rest assured.
Let me share one unusual character education lesson plan, based on character traits of extraordinary leaders, that shows how character education programs can plant the seeds for lifelong gratitude.
One character trait forms the foundation of this program.
- Kids who learn this trait (even if it doesn’t show up until adulthood), are guaranteed success of the heart.
- Nothing is more important for a successful life than one rich in being grateful for who one is and what one has.
- I’ll teach your children to begin to express gratitude for things they now take for granted. You may witness them become happier. This expands their hearts to love themselves and others.
How to Be Happier by Expressing Gratitude Daily
Have your children do the following steps. (Until the end of the lesson, I speak directly to your child, so print this out for her use).
Step 1: Buy a special notebook that is your Gratefulness Journal.
Step 2: Start a section called Gratefulness Inventory. (1 minute)
Step 3: Think of 5 things you have to be grateful for. For example, your house, your bed, your pet, your best friend, your clothes, your mind, etc. (3-5 minutes)
Step 4: Make a list of these 5 things. (3 – 5 minutes)
Step 5: Say to yourself or out loud: “I’m grateful for or I’m thankful for_______(each of the 5 things on your list). (2-3 minutes)
Step 6: Add 6 more things to your list. Things can be body parts, for example, “I’m thankful for my legs, I’m grateful for my eyes, I’m thankful for my brains, etc.” (3-5 minutes)
Step 7: Write a brief note (100 – 200 words) expressing gratitude and thanks to your favorite person or best friend in the whole wide world. (15 minutes)
Step 8: Send the note or give it to your favorite person. (2 minutes)
Step 9: Notice how you feel. Do you feel any different than when you began this exercise? Explain and share with mom if there is a difference. (3 – 5 minutes)
Step 10: Repeat 10 steps weekly for 3 months.
Mom, with your guidance and your child’s efforts, she’ll learn to like expressing gratitude regularly, because it makes her feel so good.
I’ve just shared how to teach your children to be grateful. Gratitude is one of our most important assets in successful living.
The more your children express gratitude, the happier their hearts become. However, there are other ways for your kids to be happy now, even if they never express gratitude. Visit the Resource Box following this article for more resources on character education programs that empower kids to be happy now.