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OPINION | A bucket of gratitude

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A HUG from little kids is perhaps the warmest expression of gratitude from them.

They provide a recurring source of encouragement. The kind hearts always try to make the environment of the class enjoyable. Their kindness has empowered me to teach more effectively and enjoy life.

One of my greatest gifts as a teacher is sharing gratitude with my students in the class. I am always surprised and encouraged by the things that my students shared. Most of them would express how grateful they are for having a family who loves and takes care of them. They also appreciate all of their teachers’ efforts. Some of them are grateful for having friends who make them happy. This helps build an interactive culture in our classroom. These moments that I have with them is like filling up my heart with a bucket of gratitude. Teaching is also the definition of gratitude, as education is termed as the greatest gift for a person to receive.

It is so important to teach the value of gratitude to our children. According to studies, children who grew up to be grateful tend to be well-rounded individuals with a higher level of self-efficacy and interpersonal skills. There are also several scientifically proven benefits of gratitude to our well-being.

Why is it important to teach gratitude?

  1. Happiness

A study revealed in the Journal of Happiness, 2019, found that gratitude is linked to happiness in children by age 5. It could  mean that instilling gratitude in your kids at a young age could help them grow up to be happier people.

Other psychological studies have shown that grateful children are happier, more engaged with activities, hobbies, and schoolwork. They also have better relationships with others, and report greater satisfaction in general. Studies also show that kids are less jealous, depressed, and materialistic than ungrateful kids.

  1. Better Relationships

According to kidshealth.org, gratitude makes children build better relationships. Psychological studies show that children who are full of gratitude have more friends than those who do not. Not only so, but the quality of the relationships built with those friends is also better. It shows how important gratitude is. Suddenly, the hearts of the children are open to appreciate people around them. It also spurs them to develop ideas on how they can make their friends and themselves happy. Engaging game ideas are not far from their minds anymore with which they get to entertain themselves and their friends. Gratitude makes them cherish their companions and the people around them.

  1. Increased Self-Esteem

According to a study done by www.mindfullittleminds.com, it is revealed that children who express gratitude are more likely to have a healthy level of self-esteem than those who do not. This most times is borne out of the fact that these children are always encouraged to appreciate other people. And when this is done, the child's mind gets tuned to encouragement and a sense of accomplishment of making someone else happy. Such a child who expresses gratitude feels good about himself or herself.

  1. Stress Management

Further studies show that at a young age, kids who express gratitude cope better with stress. They mostly have less stress than their counterparts who may sometimes feel entitled due to a reason or the other. Gratitude helps to lighten the minds of these kids. It gives them great mental health as they have fewer things to worry over something. More researches have also shown that these kids, who express gratitude, sleep well. This superpower for the kids called stress management lies in the power of gratitude.

  1. Reduced Depression

It was discovered that children who express gratitude have fewer chances of depression. And even those who go through anxiety and depression can become much better through gratitude therapy. This is done by expressing how much they appreciate the little things in their lives and show gratitude for the people around them. There seems to be a surge of healing within them that validates this.

Gratitude reminds us of how wonderful and fortunate we are, even amid this Covid-19 pandemic. May we start this school year as being more grateful for everything that we have in life.

References:

https://www.kidshealth.org

https://www.all4kids.org/news/blog/how-to-teach-the-value-of-gratitude-to-children/

The author is a teacher at Northern Marianas International School.

 

 

        

 

 

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