Instilling Gratitude in Younger and Older Together

A Reflection from Grandly

The Do It Grandly seminar we took in 2022 made a big impact on how we looked at our roles as grandparents. Whenever we read the news, we feared the selfish and materialistic age that our granddaughters were growing up in. 

The seminar gave us hope: realizing that we still have an important life mission to do – passing on our faith to our grandchildren.  The fourth session helped change our understanding of our role as grandparents. We learned that while having hope was important, it wasn’t enough. We needed to become strategic grandparents, not just intentional ones. The following are two ways that my husband and I have made an effort to do so. 

Our two granddaughters, ages eight and ten, live six hours away with our daughter and her husband in Sacramento. Every summer our granddaughters come to spend a few weeks with us. One of the values that we realized we could help instill in them was gratitude, a trait which we feel is quite difficult to learn in this entitled world. Since they attend a private school and live comfortable lives, we recognized how easily they could take things for granted and grow up being overly materialistic. 

So, we started an after dinner “thank-you” activity. With everyone seated at the dinner table, we express our thankfulness to others. For example, our eight-year-old will say “Thank you, Lola (grandma), for cooking our dinner,” then “Thank you, Lolo (grandfather), for teaching us to make toy balloons,” and then “Thank you, Ate (big sister), for playing with me.”  Next our ten-year-old granddaughter takes her turn, after which my husband and I say ours. We also pray together. It is a blessing to hear the girls pray things like: “Lord, please help us not to bicker today!”  When they inevitably do, we remind them of their prayers.

We also have a yearly “family meeting” between Christmas and New Year which includes our son’s family, our daughter’s family, and our youngest son. Each of us prays for a “word” that the Lord would want us to focus on for the coming year. It is amazing what words our granddaughters come up with. Last year, our eight-year-old said her word was “principled.” When we asked her if she knew the meaning of the word, she answered “yes…doing the right things!”  Her older sister came up with “inquire…to ask why, how and what when she does not understand.” This year, when we came together, we shared what we learned from our chosen “words” and how it helped us grow. 

This is now a family tradition that strengthens our knowledge of each other, our love for one another and our identity together as a family. Is it enough? No. Is it a good start? Definitely.

This article by Belen Gonzales is excerpted from Grandly, copyright © 2024 by Grandly Missions, Inc.

Top photo credit: Family photo courtesy of © Belen Gonzales.

1 thought on “Instilling Gratitude in Younger and Older Together”

  1. Thank you so much for sharing Belen for instilling gratitude in younger and older together especially the generation of today , it’s nice to instill in their mind how good character is being practiced. God bless

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