We all have very specific and personal parenting triggers- heavy and heated guttural emotions that arise from our own children’s behaviour or actions. Often these come from our past memories, experiences and childhoods and have little to do with the actual behaviour that is happening in that moment.
One of my parenting triggers is to do with lack of gratitude. The trigger stems from a whole host of personal hang ups related to my upbringing, my self-perception and my values, which we definitely don’t have to get into here!
But when this trigger goes off the first question to be asked is:
How am I, as their Mother, modelling gratitude each and every day?
- am I remaining present and content in each moment or am I rushing and trying to fix and change my present situation?
- am I slowly and deliberately making do with what we have, or am I buying unnecessary things when we go out, satisfying instant gratification, greed and impulse
- am I fixing, repairing or reusing things when they break, or am I throwing them away and buying them anew?
- am I modelling gratitude for my children and community, writing thank you cards, acting in kindness and charity for those in need or am I focusing too much on our small home and family unit
- am I clearly expressing what I am grateful for each day to my children or do I keep this to myself?
By animating small acts of charity and gratitude in our own daily lives, we show to our children that it is in the small daily actions that we connect with each other in a meaningful and reverent way.
Ideas to help you model gratitude daily:
- light a candle before each meal
- say a blessing or grace once a day before your family meal
- learn how to mend, fix or repair clothes and toys or reach out to your community and outsource this work
- make meals for new mothers, busy families or the elderly in your community
- share and offer your skills to someone in your community eg. technology, gardening , cooking, cleaning, child minding or a listening ear.
- write thank you cards for everything and send them in the mail
- cut down on ‘stuff’: less is more, take note of what is well-loved and what goes mostly untouched and take away the clutter to make room for a deeper appreciation for what you have
- take time at the end of the day to share as a family your ‘rose and thorn’ (your most cherished part of the day and your least favourite part of the day)
- find a small time each day that you can gift to yourself for inner work, whether this is meditation, prayer, yoga, or art
- if you feel gratitude for something, say it outloud for the whole family to hear