Gratitude Found in Unlikely Places


What did you swear you would never say to your own kids?

Well, I have a confession to make. It is one of those things I swore I would never say. Yet, I find myself griping at my kids for being ungrateful.

You know the scene. You’re leaving a fun family outing when the complaining starts. One of your kids wants more. The begging, whining, and griping ignites something in you. And, you complain in return, “Why can’t you be thankful with what you have, instead of focusing on what you don’t have?!”

Over-Focusing on Negatives

Have you ever said this to your kids? 

I don’t stop with one complaint. I start picking on all the things they don’t thank me for. And, soon I’m a resentful, burned out mom. All I can see is how I’m doing it all but getting nothing in return.

“Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into.” ~ Wayne Dyer

One day, I realize that I’m expecting my kids to be grateful when I’m not modeling this very well. I’m the one who is being ungrateful and missing out on joy. I can keep focusing on the negatives, or I can look for the abundance lurking in the moment.

Tuning into Abundance

I begin watching my kids for signs of gratitude and appreciation, and I start to recognize how my kids thank me all the time. It’s not in the most likely way – through their words.

Once I start looking for positives, I am challenging my negative assumptions. And, here’s what I find – kids speak gratitude though their actions more than their words.  My kids show me gratitude and appreciation by:

  • Repeating what they enjoy doing with me in their play
  • Imitating my teaching, nurturing, and caring with others
  • Running to greet me when I get home
  • Showing me what they are doing/making

I recognize, once again, that when kids complain it doesn’t mean they don’t care. And, I remind myself that a child’s love is bigger than their fleeting complaints or their “gimme more” fits.

Gratitude Given and Received

In looking more for positives than negatives, I’ve found gratitude. Negatives don’t have to cancel out the positives. I can change my perspective and find gratitude in the most unlikely places by:

  • Releasing resentment before it builds up
  • Focusing on positives as much as negatives
  • Taking complaints less personally

I may not receive a thank you for all the little things I do for my kids, but I can tune into all the little things my kids do to show me appreciation. And, as I look for abundance, I find gratitude both given and received.

Where do you want to tune into abundance instead of scarcity?


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Related Posts: How to Keep Your Cool When Kids Complain

Photo Credit: “Mother and Daughter Chat” by loomingy1

5 responses to “Gratitude Found in Unlikely Places

  1. It’s great that you’re aware of this now while your kids are still young. We as parents are a work in progress and it’s important for our kids to know that – that we make mistakes, that we lose it sometimes, that we’re unhappy with how we acted/reacted. Showing our kids our vulnerabilities and our willingness to grow and change is some of the best gifts we can give and teach our kids; that all humans are fallible and we can recover and move on, hopefully with more awareness and improvement. Your keen insight and reflective parenting will serve you and your kids well. You are the Abundance.

    • Harriet, thank you for your sweet comment. My kids definitely know I’m a work in progress. I even heard my daughter tell my son those very words. She thought she was in trouble, but I just smiled.

  2. Amen , we certainly are a work in progress…

  3. That’s the natural attitude of a kids they want something does not have to them, sometimes asking kids for nothing, but we need to train them as the bible says in Proverbs 22:6 as a parent that’s our role.

  4. Pingback: Be Moved By Teaching Children About Giving | Liberating Choices