On Learning Gratitude by (trying to) Teach Gratitude

Few people, I suspect, become parents with visions of admonishing their children to be grateful for the privileges, opportunities, and advantages they enjoy.  In fact, didn’t most of us, prior to becoming parents, have a list as long as our arm of ALL those things our own parents did, that we would NEVER NEVER do? Ever?

Oh, humility, thy name is parent!

I suspect that gratitude, like empathy, is learned and that our actions rather than our words do far more to impart the value of both virtues.  Therefore, I find I must continually consider my own disposition and attitude when correcting or directing my daughters.  We’ve all been thinking about and considering what or who we are grateful for during this season set aside by Americans to reflect and be thankful.

So am I learning gratitude by teaching it, or teaching it by trying to learn it? Good question.  I’m still working on all of that.

‎”When you get, give. When you learn, teach.”Maya Angelou (quoting her paternal grandmother,  Mrs. Annie Henderson)

We return thanks to our mother, the earth,
which sustains us.
We return thanks to the rivers and streams,
which supply us with water.
We return thanks to all herbs,
which furnish medicines for the cure of our diseases.
We return thanks to the moon and stars,
which have given to us their light when the sun was gone.
We return thanks to the sun,
that has looked upon the earth with a beneficent eye.
Lastly, we return thanks to the Great Spirit,
in Whom is embodied all goodness,
and Who directs all things for the good of Her children.
~ Iroquois ~

Nothing is more honorable than a grateful heart.  ~Seneca

O Lord that lends me life,
Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.
~William Shakespeare

Man’s heart away from nature becomes hard.
~Standing Bear ~

Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.  ~Aesop

Small cheer and great welcome makes a merry feast.  ~William Shakespeare

Humankind has not woven the web of life.
We are but one thread within it.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
All things are bound together.
All things connect.
~ Chief Seattle, 1854 ~

All that we behold is full of blessings.  ~William Wordsworth

A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues.  ~Cicero

Treat the earth well.
It was not given to you by your parents,
it was loaned to you by your children.
We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors,
we borrow it from our Children.
~ Ancient Indian Proverb ~

On Thanksgiving Day we acknowledge our dependence.  ~William Jennings Bryan

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.  ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action. – W.J. Cameron

Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: it must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all. – William Faulkner

Happy Thanksgiving!



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7 responses to “On Learning Gratitude by (trying to) Teach Gratitude

  1. Kari

    Love this blog post; such great quotes and beautiful photos! Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Thanks Kari! Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. Robin Allegro


  4. Beautiful photos! I like to think about everything I teach my children is how I behave. Although nature does play a role, the nurture part of who they become is an everyday teachable moment – not just celebrated on specific holidays. It is a long journey and I make sure to tell my children that I make mistakes and I apologize to them when I am wrong, and make sure they know I am human…just like them:) Thanks for sharing your insights.

  5. This is just beautiful Emma, you have such style and grace !

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