Appreciative Children

Earlier this year, I saw the phrase “Kindness is magic” on a shirt. It got me thinking about kindness and magic. So often I struggle with the balance between raising a kind, grateful daughter and giving her a life of magical things and experiences. But as many of us know including the shirt designer, kindness and magic are not exclusive. In my quest to bring more of both into my daughter’s world, I offered to write a blog on raising appreciative children.

Here it is! My goal for this blog was to share tips on cultivating appreciation, such as setting expectations when shopping, saying thank you, and being a role model. I felt a bit like a fraud. In addition, to not being great at all of the tips I planned to share, my daughter’s only two. We’re still figuring a lot out. So instead of a collection of tips, I’d like to share a letter I wrote to Henley.

Sweet Hen,

Each Thanksgiving, our family shares what we’re thankful for in the past year. Once again, I’m thankful for you. I’m thankful to be your mom. I’m thankful for the happy, healthy life you’ve led so far. I’m thankful for your kindness to me, your dad, and our crew of rescues. And I’m thankful for another year of celebration and tradition together.

One of those traditions, started in 2015, is giving holiday gifts to those in need instead of ourselves. This is the first year where you’ve shown a spark of understanding what it means to give. But the giving and kindness are just part of what I hope for you. I also hope you’ll live a life full of appreciation.

I hope you’ll appreciate yourself. The other day, I heard Viola Davis say, “The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” Your life is yours. Don’t waste it on comparison or envy.

On that note, appreciate others. The differences others bring in experience, perspective, and background, are what make the world interesting. While I encourage you to let your differences shine, never forget to be curious and inclusive of the differences in others.

You’ll learn those individuals were born into circumstances different from yours, some for the better, some for the worse. Appreciate what you have, and work hard for what you don’t.

Lastly, appreciate the need in the world and find ways to give back to it. Whether you’re giving me a hug, sharing with strangers, recycling for our Earth, or saying thank you, I’ve already seen so much kindness in your soul. Nurture it.

I’ll work to nurture it as well. Writing this blog is a reminder of my impact on your environment. It’s a reminder to appreciate myself and others. It’s a reminder to be thankful, to work hard, and to give back to the world. Lastly, it’s a reminder to listen to your feelings and be patient in your gratitude journey. Truthfully, I’m still on mine.

Happy Thanksgiving, my love.

How do you help your children feel and show appreciation?



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