Every Tuesday morning I spend a few hours at an inner-city school, helping the youngsters to improve on their reading and writing.
In between sounding out a, e, i, o and u, I’ve gotten to know these children a little better over the past few months. They are absolutely delightful to say the least.
But there is no denying that some basic privileges my family and I are so fortunate to enjoy on a daily basis are not at all a reality in the lives of these kids.
I then question if I do enough to make my children appreciate what they have. I do have a tendency to go on a bit about those less fortunate and that we should never forget how blessed we are. I also, however, don’t want them to feel guilty about what they have, as that energy doesn’t allow for one to appreciate one’s own blessings either.
The conclusion I’ve come to is that gratitude – the kind that touches you to the core, leaving you totally overcome with emotion – comes over time. We can of course set examples and explain the importance of gratitude – but understand that each and every individual develops a true sense of gratitude on their own – in the same way that each person can only work out for themselves what it means to take complete ownership of one’s own life and actions.
That leaves me a little less anxious about it all – I’ll continue to do the best I can to raise conscientious, considerate and respectful human beings, but ultimately my wish for them is to be privileged enough to experience the gift of true gratitude along their journey.