The Art of Appreciation

Written by Christy Whitman October 30, 2012

Parenting is a thankless job. This is a sentiment shared by a lot of parents, and one that Frederic and I have heard – in some form or another – from many of our clients. Some have resigned themselves to the notion that we as parents should just accept that our children will never appreciate the things we do on their behalf. We strongly disagree. In fact, teaching children the power of appreciation is one of the fundamental goals of the Enlightened Kid Program. In the same way that laughter is contagious, and showing kindness to others evokes kindness within them, appreciating what we have draws into our lives more things to appreciate. And of course, the best way to foster this understanding in our kids is to model it within ourselves.

Let them see and hear you express appreciation for everything – material and immaterial – that brings you joy: Wow. Look at this beautiful day! We are so blessed to live in this beautiful home. Thank you for making this great meal! We are so grateful for our loving family… Expressing appreciation directly to your child has an even more powerful impact: Thank you for picking your clothes up off the floor… I’m really proud of the way you stayed in your seat when we were at the restaurant… I noticed the way you helped your brother – that was so nice of you!

It’s important not to simply say these words by rote, but to we infuse them with the energy and feeling of appreciation. The words “thank you,” “I appreciate you,” and “I love you” have no inherent meaning. It’s the meaning we put into them that generates the vibration of appreciation.

The more our kids see us expressing our appreciation for others, the more natural it will be for them to follow suit. And – as with everything from brushing teeth to turning off light switches – developing the habit of gratitude requires some reinforcement. If we give our boys something and they forget to express thanks, we ask them to stop and really feel the joy that this gift brings them, and to then use words to express how they feel. Yes, this is an investment of time, but it’s one that reaps many rewards. I’ll never forget the fulfillment I felt one day as I gave Maxim, – then 20-month-old – his milk. Beaming with love, he looked me in the eyes and said, “Thank you, Mommy.” Of course, his gratitude melted my heart, and it also inspired me to do more, be more, and give more to him. This is the power of gratitude.

Teaching your children the art of appreciation goes far beyond instilling in them the habit of saying “please” and “thank you.” Appreciation is one of the highest vibrations in the universe; it opens the door to greater prosperity in every sense of the word. Try it and you’ll find that the fastest way to receive more of what you want is to appreciate what you already have.

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