Mother Teresa defined gratitude as focusing on what you have rather than what you don’t. She was such a great icon in charity that she devoted her life in serving the poor and destitute around the world.
The year has ended, and some people are still reflecting on the resolutions made at the start of 2016. The evaluation of achievements and failures encountered is mostly considered.
Quite often, we are tempted to focus on the unachieved ambitions. This allows the cloud of failure to overshadow our achievements. The loss of a loved one, the lost job opportunity, the business deal missed by the whisker, among others could be part of our memoirs for the past year.
Yet there is one thing we definitely are thankful for irrespective of what 2016 has been. We still have life. There is nothing that beats the gift of life – no matter what state our bodies might be in. We are among the lucky few with an opportunity to dream and hope for a better tomorrow.
It is, thus, paramount we take stock of 2016 and count our blessings before we let the twelve months pass just as ‘another year gone’.
How about doing the gratitude stocktaking exercise with our children? Most times, we think they are ‘just children’ who do not have any major plans or dreams at the moment. This attitude blurs our emphasis to raise them knowing that gratitude is a virtue they need to cultivate irrespective of what life offers them. Looking back in the last twelve months, what are your children thankful for?
Or do they know that what they have is their right and you are under obligation to provide because after all, they did not ask you to bring them on earth?
It is not yet too late to walk down the memory lane of 2016 with your children. What did they aspire to achieve? What did they actually achieve? Where did they fail? What is the way forward? It is through reflecting on these questions that they will realize they actually achieved a thing or two. For that achievement, however small it is, they ought to be thankful.
Gratitude starts with us to inspire the young ones. Our daily actions ultimately form habits. When things are not moving on well, it is easy to slip into the valley of hopelessness and disappointment.
The reality of life, however, is that it is not a straight line. There will be moments of achievement and disappointment. When our dreams are shattered and we don’t get what we wished for does not mean we have hit a dead end. Even then, there is a reason to be thankful.
We need a generation that will appreciate what it has before lamenting about what is absent. It is incumbent on parents and guardians to nurture children to pursue aspirations, but also be thankful for the strides taken in the right direction. When a year ends, we have an opportunity to look back and express gratitude to God for helping us move towards our goals.