Raising kids is one of the toughest jobs, requiring relentless commitment and genuine agape love. So far, the teenage years have been the toughest in these two areas for my husband and I. Overall, our 12-year-old and 16-year-old are good kids, who are going through typical teen maturation stages, showing significant changes in their emotional and social development. As challenging as it is to guide our teens through these stages of development, it occurred to me last night that lessons taught can also serve as gentle reminders to my husband and I and other adults alike.
In our American society, we are constantly looking for the next upgrade, or trend. We also face being feed a constant mirage of advertisements, created to fuel desires to fulfill ravenous appetites for material possessions. With these odds, it’s easy for adults to get caught up in a cycle of unquenchable thirst to aimlessly pursue the apprehension of material possessions. There’s nothing wrong with having or desiring nice things. The problem occurs, when we let hearts become full of greed and fail to show gratitude and appreciation. Sometimes, we should stop and smell the roses and recognize how full and blessed our lives are. One of the most challenging tasks in raising teenagers, is teaching them to be grateful. If we as adults can fall prey to being ungrateful, how much more can our teens, who lack the emotional development to fully comprehend the damage caused to our lives when we live a life of ungratefulness.
Teens need our guidance and examples on how to live a life of gratitude. As I continue giving my own teens lessons about being grateful, I realized that many of our lessons and activities with them can serve as gentle reminders to adults about remaining grateful. After all, shouldn’t we as adults live our lives in a way that serves our teens as role models. So, I began to remix a lesson on gratitude, I came up with 6 ways that teens can practice gratitude, with assistance and participation from adults.
- We must ensure that we are living a purposeful life, balancing the pendulum between purposeful spending and enjoying life.
- Daily reflection and inventory on the good in your life is a must. If you struggle in this area, starting a Gratitude Journal may serve as a great tool to your success. With a gratitude journal, you will keep a record of experiences, things, and/or reflections from your day that you are grateful for. The great news is, there are even apps available in the Apple & Play Store that can assist you with this task or simply grab a notebook and start writing.
- Focus on what you do have, instead of what is missing from your life. Often, an inventory of our life will not only help us to be grateful but it can also make us realize that we can live without the things that are missing.
- Guard your heart by being mindful of what you’re watching and listening to. For example, limit your time spent on Social Media outlets, watching T.V., and listening to pointless music. These outlets have the potential to produce the most ungratefulness, as people aimlessly try to keep up images and the pursuit of happiness through shallow quests.
- Use grateful words often. Get in the habit of using words that express gratitude with people and in private. If you find yourself complaining out loud or in thought, replace those words with expressions of gratitude, following step #3 above.
- Show gratitude with action. Thinking, speaking, and reflecting gratitude can be followed with gratitude activities. Here are some examples of acts of kindness that can serve as gratitude acts:
- Paying it forward-show kindness to someone because someone showed kindness to you.
- Buy a small token of thanks. Doesn’t have to cost a lot of money and you can find many ideas on Pinterest.
- Write a thank you note.
- Complete or help with chores are physical tasks.
- Use your creative gifts to make a token of thanks.
For more examples of acts of kindness, visit https://www.randomactsofkindness.org