A beautiful little girl, dressed in the latest fashion, entered a group of children who were laughing and playing. The children eagerly invited the new girl to join their play, but she stood off to the side with her arms crossed and brow furrowed. She shook her head, “no”, and almost seemed to stick her nose up in the air. A few of the other children tried to interest her in another game. Still the same response.
Meanwhile, her mom encouraged her to join in. No dice. She didn’t want to play what the other kids were playing. Yet, she didn’t want to play with any of the available toys – and there was a plethora from which to choose. Nothing was satisfactory. Instead, she stood and sulked. A storm cloud on the horizon.
After awhile, the other children simply gave up trying to coax her into joining them. Finally, she sat next to her mom and whined.
“But, Mommy, I want a cookie!”
“I want the dollie she has!”
Her mom, now embarrassed, began to pacify her daughter’s demands. Pretty soon they packed up and left. The saddest part? No one minded.
Gratitude, or lack thereof, is an attitude. And it must be learned.
“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” Epictetus
Each of us is extraordinarily unique yet we waste time comparing ourselves to others. We train ourselves to believe that somehow we are missing out on … something. It doesn’t matter how much we have or don’t have, our nature is to want more or different or better. And, sadly, we often pass this lack of gratitude on to our children.
Philippians 4: 11-12 states “…I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”
An attitude of gratitude.
How do we morph our legacy from ingratitude to gratitude?
- Practice Thankfulness – Pick a time each day to spend just 5 minutes identifying three things for which you are thankful. If you do this each day it will become a habit.
- Change Your Language – Do you use your words to express gratefulness or discontent? Commit to verbally practicing gratefulness daily – even when it’s tough.
- Count Your Blessings – Look for the hidden blessings in each day and name them. Here’s your first one: you woke up. What are some others?
Simple changes bring substantial attitude adjustments.
“Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity . . . it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” Melody Beattie
What will you do today to change your attitude to gratitude? Leave a comment below.