On teaching gratitude

As a parent you probably know by now that a discarded, half-broken toy can go from forgotten at the bottom of a toy barrel to a child’s favourite that they love so much. This can happen in just a few minutes, and that moment is when they are faced with giving it away.

I did a clean out of Amy’s room recently and made a bag of clothes and toys to give away. She found it very hard to part with some of her belongings, desperately clinging to them as if she cuddled them to sleep every night (which I can assure you she does not). Obviously I would never give away toys she really did care about, but these truly didn’t hold a special place in her heart and I believed this was a valuable lesson for her to learn.

I explained how blessed she is to have a beautiful bedroom with clothes and toys, and how some little children didn’t have all that she had. It’s a difficult concept for children to understand, but as I am wanting Amy to grow into a kind, compassionate, and understanding woman one day I had better raise her to be so. And that starts now.

Of course the first thing she did was what most young ones at this age would do, she clung to the doll I was giving away as if her very life depended on it. ‘But I love this doll, mom’ she sobbed while stroking the doll’s hair, and then racing off to tuck her in to sleep with a blanket which just so happened to also be on the giving away pile.

I told her to think about it, that another little girl with no toys would enjoy hugging this doll more than she did, but that I would not give her away unless she said it was ok. After picking her up from school today she told me that I could give her away. A proud moment for me, and a learning moment for her.

As the saying goes: “Strong woman, may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.”

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