Gratitude is simply a choice, but we have to start by making the choice to do it.

A story is told of a man who was begging on the street with a sign that simply read, “I am blind, please help me.” Occasionally people gave money to him as they walked by, but then the beggar heard someone stop and write something on his sign. Throughout the rest of day people were constantly giving him money, significantly more than any other day he had been there. Towards the end of the day, he asked a person walking by if they would read what was written on the sign and the person said, “your sign says, ‘today is a beautiful day, but I cannot see it’.”

Both signs said basically the same thing but the second one reminded people to be grateful for something they were taking for granted each and every day.
This quarter, Dalat is looking at gratitude and how to encourage and foster it in ourselves and in our children. The great thing about gratitude is that it can be learned. Similarly to exercise, the more we do it, the easier and more natural it becomes. Gratitude is simply a choice, but we have to start by making the choice to do it. The most effective way is to figure out how to make it a habit, something that we do or that happens automatically most days. This can be different for each person but, here are some simple suggestions to get us thinking of how we can do this:

  • Put a post-it note on the bathroom mirror that helps remind you to practice gratitude.
  • At breakfast or dinner, develop the habit of asking others at the table what they are grateful for that day.
  • Start a gratitude list and put it on your fridge where family members can add to it.
  • With younger children, make it a part of the bedtime routine.
  • Make saying “thank you” something you do in your family.
  • Put a quote about gratitude above or near the door so that everyone sees it as they head out of the house.
  • Develop a gratitude trigger (e.g. tying your shoes, brushing your teeth, starting the car) that reminds you to think of one thing to be grateful for when you do it.
  • Put something in your purse or wallet that when you see it reminds you to be grateful.

Just like developing an exercise routine, it can be difficult to get it started. But if we are intentional about it, gratitude can become a part of our lives. So what signs will you put in your life that remind you of all that you have?
Have a beautiful day!

Written by Karl Steinkamp

Karl Steinkamp is passionate about Dalat International School and training up young people. Karl was a student at Dalat and returned with a degree in education as a student teacher, high school principal, and now Head of School since 2006.
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