Gratitude Sharing For Teens and Parents

Gratitude Sharing For Teens and Parents
Gratitude is about being happy, thankful, content and/or appreciative of what you have — whether it be possessions or experiences. Let’s think about this in the present tense. Gratitude is not about being thankful now for the things you hope to buy or receive in the future. It’s also not a wish list of things you want to feel or happen in your life. It's about the real time element of what you have and are experiencing now. Being grateful also doesn’t have to be about a particular item. You can also be happy and thankful about a feeling.

You have probably seen gratitude lists posted on Facebook or shared on Twitter. These lists can be for a full year or a month. Don't worry, I'm not asking you to begin by keeping a list for 365 days. I’m suggesting that you start a list of your gratitudes, beginning today, and continuing with a new gratitude for the next thirty days. See, only 31 gratitudes! It's also totally up to you whether or not you share your lists online. Are you ready to start? Oh, wait, there’s a twist. I'm also suggesting that you share this list with a parent, or another adult you have a close relationship with and trust. This person is your gratitude partner. 

Each partner lists their daily gratitude and then shares it with the other. Here's an example, as a teen you might list that you are grateful for your new cell phone. It helps you keep in touch with friends, read ebooks, watch movies, listen to music, play games, or even keep track of homework assignments and work schedules. Your gratitude partner might list how grateful they are for their family and being able to help keep them safe.  In a sense, your cell phone gratitude could be related to their gratitude. Your gratitude partner may have purchased the cell phone for you, they pay the monthly bill, or they might have played a role in the decision for you to have a cell phone. They wanted you to be able to have a way to communicate with them easily and quickly. The sharing of this particular gratitude offers both of you a great opportunity for discussion. It might be a chance for you to show your appreciation again, or talk about responsibilities, and expectations. You might even both learn and help each other learn the phone's features.  

Yet, what if the shared gratitudes don't seem to be about the same things? Let’s say as a teen you’ve been worried for the past two weeks about your science project. You spent a lot of time researching, writing, creating a poster or maybe even a model for your class presentation. Whew, finally you are done. The presentation is over and you feel good about it. You may not know your grade yet, but you have a sense of relief and you are grateful to clear your mind of the atmosphere of Mars. Meanwhile, your gratitude partner is grateful that the ongoing funny noise coming from the family car for the past two weeks was merely a loose belt. A trip to the mechanic fixed the problem and the worry of transportation issues is no longer a present issue. You both are sharing relief and gratitude for the finalization of two different things. You will surely have another presentation, and your gratitude partner will surely face another car problem, but for now you are both grateful.

This feeling of relief can lead to a discussion about other upcoming projects and concerns. You might find that you can help and support each other in some manner. Sometimes we find it’s hard to talk about feelings and frustrations. I hope that you find by sharing your gratitudes, those conversations can become a bit easier.

Please join our forum to discuss gratitude. You can share yours if you wish, or even post a new gratitude. You can also start a new topic or ask any question.

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This content was written by Michelle Anne Cope. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Linda Tellier for details.