I find myself getting irritated at my daughter for being so whiny over things I find to be insignificant. She gets a lot of time-outs for whining. But if I’m honest with myself, she learned it from somewhere. Part of it is good, old-fashioned sinful nature, but a lot of it is from me.
We tend to be very vocal about the things in our life that aren’t right, and spend more time talking about them then expressing thankfulness for our blessings.
I’ve heard it said that you can program your brain to be happy by keeping a gratitude journal or simply recounting three things from your day that made you happy. By focusing on the positive, you can change your attitude and outlook on life.
It’s no secret that our kids watch and hear everything we do, so if you struggle with expressing gratitude, it’s likely that they will, too. You can’t just discipline the ungratefulness out of them; you have to show them a better way.
I recently created a Thank You Wall with my daughter to teach us both to make a habit of remembering our blessings. I just took two sheets of butcher paper, taped them together, cut out “Thank You Wall” in block letters from scrapbooking paper, and taped it to the wall above her bed. We both try to write things that we are thankful for every day.
In addition to this, I will randomly ask my daughter for the things that she enjoyed about her day. I especially will exercise this if she is complaining a lot. What she needs, what I NEED, is perspective. Things are not as bad as they seem; in fact, we are quite blessed.
Happiness doesn’t come from perfecting your circumstances. Rich and famous people also struggle with depression and anxiety. Happiness comes from wholeness, dealing with the issues in your past that have wounded you, receiving healing from God, and cultivating a wise and healthy mentality about life. Putting on a cheerful attitude like Paul and Silas did as they worshiped God from prison. Teaching our kids to respond this way is a priceless gift we can give them that will set them up for success in life.