01 Mar Thankfulness Builds Resilience
By Grace Susatyo
Imagine this… it was a stinky hot day and within minutes it turned into a stormy afternoon with heavy rain and gusty wind. Plus, the busiest traffic ever played up my anxiety level and I worried whether or not I would arrive on time to pick up my girl at school. At that point, I could either be grumpy or grateful. Most of the time, I would react quickly and chose the first one. But there was something different about that afternoon. My eldest suddenly said, “Mummy, I thank God that we all can stay dry inside the car”. At that moment, my heart filled with hope that I was going to arrive at school on time, no longer focused on the bad weather.
Another setting, after we said grace and just as we were about to have the first spoonful of food, my little girl said “Thank you Mummy for cooking” and my heart just filled with overflowing joy. And believe me, it felt so good!
Teaching our kids to say “thank you” is important, but truly instilling a sense of gratitude in them is another matter entirely. Gratitude goes beyond good manners – it is a mindset and a lifestyle.
In a parenting seminar, it was discussed that having a grateful attitude contributed to raising resilient children. But what is actually resilience? Rosabeth M Kanter defines resilience as the ability to recover from fumbles and outright mistakes and bounce back. Whether it’s not getting picked for a choir team or failing an exam, somehow the resilient child has learned to pick him or herself up and keep going. In the face of hard times, gratitude has the power to bring hope. In other words, being grateful can help us cope with hard times and be more resilient to stress. And this is what I hope for your children and mine to be.
Gratitude starts at home and hopefully these simple tips can be your starting points.
Be a grateful parent to start with
We are the role models for our kids. Our kids embrace the values that they see.
A simple ‘thank you’ to the cashier who helps us with our grocery or the waitress who serves our food is the perfect example for our kids to model. When our kids see us expressing sincere thanks all the time, they’ll be more likely to do the same.
Count your blessings
Have a moment of thanks each day where everyone in your family can share something they are thankful for the day, either good or bad. Despite the situation they face, when they can think of something they’re thankful for and realise the good in their lives, it results in a quick and significant shift of attitude.
Love your kids but resist the urge to spoil them
They are indeed God’s princes and princesses. But you can treat them as ‘just kids’ at home. Asking them to do simple chores from young age, like making up their bed each morning or unpacking their lunchboxes after school, or putting their toys away after playing, certainly won’t do any harm. In fact, it will build up their sense of responsibility and appreciation of their surroundings.