Being Thankful Is A Choice
Updated: May 6, 2020
In every Tessa Book I encourage thankfulness! Every day we have a choice to be thankful. Thankful for where we live, the people in our life, the choice of food we have and other things like farmers, the weather, emergency service workers, teachers, creatives, the people who stock the shelves in the supermarkets, the people who take away my garbage, the air we breathe…etc. etc. the list should go on forever really. I encouraged my girls to start ‘Thankful Books’ – we glued gorgeous fake flowers on the covers and every day they wrote 1 or as many thankful notes as they wanted to – well that was about 5 years ago now! They always find something new to be thankful for and every time when I think surely they’ve come to the end now – they keep going! It amazes me! What a beautiful record of thanksgiving to have to pass onto their children and who knows – their children may even start their own! I read an article where Oprah Winfrey wrote down the things she was grateful for in a “gratitude journal” for a decade. In 1996, some of the things she recalls being grateful for include “eating cold melon on a bench in the sun.” I have come to realise that being thankful is a choice and that everyone is given the opportunity to be thankful and make the most of the day - every day.
I remember my 8th Birthday (42years ago!) and a little girl gave me a 50c as a present – I was so ungrateful – and she was so disappointed that I reacted in this way. I have never forgotten it – and often wish I could meet her again to say sorry and how I should have been thankful for her gift. That day I saw first-hand the effects of not being thankful can have upon others. That is why I know being thankful (with a smile) has a positive effect upon others and can turn their whole day around – it makes them feel good, so it’s a win win.
As you may or may not know in regards to children, imitation is a huge part of learning and therefore as an adult being a positive role model in thankfulness needs to be demonstrated. Providing concrete examples of being thankful, demonstrates and reinforces the power of thankfulness
In my book series I wanted to have that thread of being thankful, showing kindness and encouragement to others as I know the long term effects it can have. In ‘The Lovely, Beautiful And Very Elegant Tea Party’ Bk.1 I have included a gorgeous template of 2 teacups that can be printed out or photocopied, to be coloured and then a real tea bag can be attached to the handle to say ‘Thank you’ to friends and family! By doing this it shows appreciation of friendship and thankfulness of one another.
Being thankful changes everything! Being worried and complaining doesn’t have any positive outcomes for anyone. It only makes things worse. Other people start to feel better when they are around others that are thankful, it makes them feel good and is contagious. In the same way complaining and whinging can be contagious too, and only seeks to bring people down.
I was just reading a few studies that were done on thankfulness, with all listing some really beneficial results; it can foster resilience in children, leads to a better night sleep, can play a key role in overcoming trauma, it associated with other emotions like contentment, happiness and hope. When children go through tough times it always helps to be thankful for something and when they get through to the other side – there are always things they can/have learnt etc. to be thankful for (Even though it can be difficult and we don’t always feel like being thankful when it’s a difficult time – but through experience, I know it is a lot easier when you do). In teaching them this it can put things into perspective and turn their whole mental mindset around, showing them there is light at the end of the tunnel. In addition the benefits don’t stop there, thankful children also tend to grow into successful thankful adults, who are very content and have a commitment to community – as their focus isn’t entirely upon themselves.
Personally as parents we have always encouraged and put into action with our children – being thankful through giving to others. Whether it was; walking around the neighbourhood giving away bags of bread , croissants, pastries, or vegetables, cooking food for others, writing thank you notes, sending flowers/chocolates, to supporting orphanages, it was all done to reinforce being thankful and encourage thankfulness in others – to teach them that thankfulness is a choice and their lives will be much more fulfilled when they are.
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