Teaching and Living in Gratitude

Recently, it has come to my attention that in trying to give Baby Reinvention the life I didn’t have she may have missed out on the opportunity to grow in gratitude.

I am trying to figure out how to teach her gratitude and fulfillment without exposure to trauma and hardship.

And I don’t know if it’s sticking.

We are so very rich in everything that we have supporting us daily. We have a wonderful life. Mr. Reinvention and I have done our very best to provide our little with a life full of love and opportunity. We  have made decisions for her based on what we felt would be best for her growth. But somehow she is not connecting the dots between the fact that we worked hard to be where we are and continue to do so. The fact that there are so many people who live under much different circumstances for no other reason than luck.

Part of me is really frustrated at her for being this way. The part of me that was that little girl who could never do extracurricular activities because there was no money. That little girl who moved so much and was embarrassed by the car we drove around and where we lived and the clothing I had to wear. The little girl who was a latch key kid at 7 because mom had to work. That little girl feels really hurt and upset that Baby Reinvention can’t see our wealth. The value in having a safe home, loving adults, basic needs met and plenty of enrichment. Some of these necessities Mr. Reinvention and I lacked in our childhoods.

Adult me knows that she can’t see because of the life we have created for her. Adult me knows that my feelings are not Baby’s problem but mine. These are my issues to own.

Gratitude can be a tough concept for those of us living in this world of immediate gratification where everything new, shiny and bright is a mouse click away. It can be almost unfathomable that truly the only reason we are living in a sea of stuff and choices is because we were born in a country where even our impoverished live in luxury comparative to other places in the world. We simply can’t grasp how good we have it. Our first world problems (and I’m not judging as I am guilty too) someone else some place else would accept gladly.

What do I do to practice gratitude and hopefully live that message? These are some things that make me feel active in my practice.

  1. If I feel it then I say it. I describe whatever birthed that feeling of wonder and awe in our world.
  2. If I can spare it then I do. I try to give whenever and however I can.
  3. I try really, really, really hard to stay in the present moment and be fully immersed in that place and time.
  4. I laugh.
  5. I hug or snuggle.
  6. I go to the beach.
  7. I move my body- because I am healthy and I can!
  8. I remember that someone else would gladly ask for a second helping of whatever my shit sandwich of the moment is.
  9. I say “Thank you!”
  10. I release the past and forgive.

So our work continues. Mine, Baby’s and the entire family. In the meantime, I am grateful (wink, wink) because she is a helluva teacher.

How do you live in gratitude?

Do you think this is a lesson that can be taught or must be witnessed?

xxxxxx,

Melissa

5 thoughts on “Teaching and Living in Gratitude

  1. Thank you for sharing lady. I often think of this and the idea of having my own kids someday. I grew up incredibly poor. I am so grateful for what I have and I feel like I’m always trying to repay old kindnesses. I know what it’s like. But I don’t want to have children and not be able to offer them everything I didn’t receive. But how do you tow that line? How do you teach a child to be grateful when they’ve never lived without. As always you’re a goddess.

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  2. If you want her to learn, explain what you’re doing in the 10 steps above. “We don’t need this quilt, but it might keep someone else warm” or “Wow, look at that flower. Isn’t it cool how the petals are?” or whatever is going on at the moment.
    I’ve lived both ends of the spectrum, and it wasn’t until I could see that it WAS a spectrum that I really felt gratitude. It’s an ongoing process, and while yes, we want our kids to have what we didn’t, we also want them to earn for themselves some of those things. You set the best example you can, and hope she learns from the best. I think she’s got a good shot at this.

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  3. I don’t have kids but I think alot of parents go through the same thing that you are. Kids today seem to have a sense of entitlement and don’t appreciate much. They’re spoiled and to see it from the outside is quite awful. However, sometimes things stick with children but we don’t notice until later in their life. I just say be patient. Thanks for sharing my friend ❤

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  4. I have a daily gratitude practice and I try and remember always, when I get bitch about not being able to buy this thing or that, how lucky I am. I have an app that reminds me and lets me list things daily (yes, there is an app for everything) but I found that volunteering really helped me. I worked with new immigrants, helping them learn and improve their English. We do it in conversation so I learned a lot about their lives and why they came to Canada. Many of the stories were horrific, which definitely helped me to appreciate my life.

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