I want to set the foundation if you well that prepares the heart to learn gratitude. The heart has to be prepared before it can be received.
Our goal is to bring the doctrine “unto” our children, but they have to bring it “into” their own hearts. You have to teach it over and over. Their hearts are prepared to receive them differently.
You have to prepare their hearts so they can receive. You prepare soil so it can receive what you are teaching. This is the preparation that I think needs to happen. We prepare our children to receive the principle of gratitude by teaching them to be respectful. It’s hard to have a grateful heart when you have no respect. You teach respect by teaching the lost art of “Good Manners”. They have to be taught and required at home. It is a principle of life that you are respectful.
Look at the leadership in the country. Some don’t have very good manners. Emily Post was the queen of manners. If you wanted to know what to do you would refer to her. She was the queen of the etiquette rules. We are at a place where we have to figure it out and teach our children manners.
There are things that we need to teach our children to help them be more refined. You can add according to what the Spirit prompts you to do.
- Teach your children proper table manners
- Proper setting of the table. Do they know how to set the table and put them in the right places?
- When they come to the table to eat they don’t start picking at the food before they have prayer.
- Sit at the table and wait until we ask someone to say prayer. Don’t eat or drink before prayer.
- Do they know what the napkin is for? It’s supposed to be in your lap. Have they had the opportunity to do that?
- Please pass the salt? Have them use their words.
- When the child is appropriately finished I think they need to remain at the table while everyone else eats. If that is family bonding time you need even the picky eaters to stick for a little to bond.
- Then use, “May I be excused?” and then to take dishes over to the sink. It’s appropriate to help clear the table.
- Teach little people that there is not anyone up and down from the table. Remove their plate when they leave the table. Let it ride. They need to realize that if they get down from the table they are done.
- Please and thank you.
- Proper behavior when your home teachers come.
- They should collect quickly.
- When adults enter the room they should stand and shake hands with the hometeachers.
- Then they need to sit quietly.
- Little tiny people do not need to sit on their laps or crawling all over them. That’s not appropriate. Neither should your dogs or cats.
- Telephone manners
- How to answer the phone, take a message, and relay the message
- Cell phone etiquette…they don’t feel like life can function when they are not on the phone.
- Return phone calls. They need to learn to return the phone call NOT the parent.
- Little people and youth should not be calling adults by their name. When you are married and on the adult plane.
- There are a couple of exceptions. If you are really good friends with them and he is called to be the Bishop you need to immediately start calling them Bishop.
- RSVP…sometimes we get invites, but you don’t RSVP. You need to do that.
- Thank you letters….handwritten thank you letters. They are extremely appropriate to send thank you’s or gratitude letters.
- Don’t interrupt.
- Little ones feel threatened when you talk to someone. I would teach my little people to put their hand on my arm. That says, Mom I want to talk to you. Then at the earliest convenient moment I would disengage have a mini moment with the child and then return to the conversation. They need to learn to respect the time and space of another person.
- They need to be ON TIME! It is respectful to everyone else. Being late is selfish.
Class member: They interrupt each other all the time when they are telling me about their day.
Define who is next and no one gets to interrupt. Keep it reasonable. Then if they want to continue the conversation it happens after everyone else has had their turn.
Class member: My son had his last soccer game and I had him write a thank you card. He wanted to text, but I wouldn’t let him.
Teach your child, “Just a minute…it’s Dad’s turn. It will be yours in a minute.” Use the word ‘turn’. It calculates in their head that they will get a chance as well. We all think different and that’s ok.
Class member: I have a child that does the same thing. I try to teach him to collect his thoughts and then tell me. He isn’t always focused. I tell him ‘collect your thoughts and then I can listen.’
Class member: Interrupting is such a problem in our home. It doesn’t matter what we are doing my daughter is constantly interrupting.
When you have one child and they are the only one demanding your time they can have more time. Only children have a hard time learning how to share or interrupting. Interrupting is just sharing time. With an only child the situation doesn’t always arise that you can use as the teaching tool. With an only child you have to become more consistent. Talk less and do more if you have already taught it. They need to learn that you don’t stop on demand to deal with them. We default to doing that. You have to teach her to respect space, time, & emotions of you and your husband and family. You become the source of her learning experiences. I’m the adult so I should teach her what she needs.
Class member: With technology, we just don’t get the amount of phone calls that we used to at home. I take care of a lot of things on my phone through text. My kids think if I’m texting that’s not important and my focus shouldn’t be there. Should you deal with that in a similar manner?
Technology makes some of these things a little harder. Are you using your technology as a tool to make something roll forward or are you using it as a toy. If you are answering a tool or assignment it is appropriate to say to them, “Sister Jones needs an answer to this.” It shows them that you are using it as a tool. A lot of adults are addicted to cell phones so it can be inappropriate.
Class member: My parents growing up said the 2 hours after school the focus was on us. She didn’t answer the phone. FHE she didn’t answer the phone. I do the same thing with my cell phone use now.
The phone is for my convenience not for yours.
D&C 59:7 “Thank the Lord in all things.”
We tend to thank the Lord in only good things.
D&C 59:21 “And in nothing doth man aoffend God, or against none is his bwrath ckindled, save those who dconfess not his hand in all things, and eobey not his commandments.”
Develop a grateful heart. Just like the last level of the service continuum is “I want to serve because I am grateful for what the Savior has done.” This is a condition of what you have done.
“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but is the parent of all others.” (Cicero)
If you want to develop humility you learn to be grateful. You have to actually teach gratitude and with gratitude they begin the process. The ones that suffer with being cocky they ‘expect’ to receive everything and they ‘deserve it’.
James E Faust “Gratitude as a Saving Principle”
“As gratitude is absent or disappears, rebellion often enters and fills the vacuum. I do not speak of rebellion against civil oppression. I refer to rebellion against moral cleanliness, beauty, decency, honesty, reverence, and respect for parental authority. A grateful heart is a beginning of greatness. It is an expression of humility. It is a foundation for the development of such virtues as prayer, faith, courage, contentment, happiness, love, and well-being.”
Fruits of teaching gratitude….prayer, faith, courage, contentment, happiness, love, & well-being. Do you want those fruits or want your children to have those things in their lives? If they felt those things there would be less competition. They would be content.
Read the quotes and take it apart. Take it apart and realize that if I teach gratitude then this becomes the blessing. Then look at your children and say, “Where are they weak?”
Class member: You are saying service is a part of having a grateful heart. I had him watch a video about kids in third world countries, but they just aren’t getting it. It’s not just to make you feel bad. I’m just trying to help you see that you are grateful. I guess they need to serve and see for themselves.
Our children say, “I want to help the needy, but it doesn’t make me less greedy.” We only want to take our ‘excess’ and give it so it doesn’t hurt them.
Your children will never learn gratitude from getting things! They actually become grateful by receiving less not more. Stuff doesn’t make them grateful. Earning it themselves makes them more grateful.
How do you teach gratitude?
It goes through levels just like the service continuum. They have to experience these.
President Monson “The Divine Gift of Gratitude”
“My brothers and sisters, to express gratitude is gracious and honorable, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live with gratitude ever in our hearts is to touch heaven.”
3 levels of gratitude….
Level 1: EXPRESS
- As parents we don’t often get off this level.
- We teach the story of “The Ten Lepers”. We need to focus and be grateful for what we do have instead of what we don’t have.
- We usually say, “I’m so thankful for our home, BUT I wish we had a bigger one.” “I’m thankful that we can go swimming, BUT I wish we could do it in the Bahamas.” You are ALWAYS wanting more.
- Gratitude starts in our thoughts.
- Pg 93 of syllabus---list of ways we teach gratitude. (Thank you letters, develop a talent and share it, etc)
- It’s hard to have gratitude when you are comparing yourself to others.
- Focus on the blessings you have and be grateful for those things.
- Story: Acres of diamonds!
- How many of us are so anxious about what we don’t have that we lose contentment for what they do have?
- Teach them to see what they have and be grateful for them.
Level 2: ACT
- Write down 3 things you are thankful for.
- James 2: 17-18 (Substitute the word ‘gratitude’ instead of ‘faith’)
18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
- Couple that verse with “Thanksgiving”. It’s make up of 2 works…Thanks….giving. or Giving…thanks. This is an ACTION word. You do something because of thanks.
- Because I’m grateful for food I can take a meal to someone.
- Because I’m grateful to stay home while my husband works, I will be available for my kids.
- Because I’m grateful for my family I will invite someone over who is lonely.
- They begin to connect gratitude and behavior.
Level 3: LIVE
- Alma 34:38 “…that ye live in dthanksgiving daily, for the many emercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you.”
- This is based on the Living Christ. Study and/or Memorize the Living Christ as you go. It’s not just a rote thing. Your children memorize the Articles of Faith, but do they understand it.
- Stay focused on it. Go there someday. Touch “The Living Christ” Daily!!
- Who are we endebted to?
- Improve your prayers. Pray with greater meaning and intent. Think about your prayers before you pray. Make commitments to him more than just asking for him to ‘do something’ for you. Show that you are willing to put forth the effort.
- True gratitude when you hit this level ALWAYS leads to true service. They feed each other.
D&C 78:19 And he who receiveth all things with athankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an bhundred fold, yea, more.
This is the blessing that comes with gratitude.
- Figure out some things you can do to help your children ‘give’ thanks before Thanksgiving. How are we going to show our thanks for those things we are thankful for?
- Study “The Living Christ”
- Read & Study “Remember Remember” President Eyring…Starting tonight start a gratitude journal between now and Christmas.
It’s not just to be grateful for the easy things, but to be grateful for the difficult things as well.