Gratitude is getting a lot of press these days. As indeed it should.
The University of California Berkeley recently announced a $3.1 million research study on the power of gratitude. Through their Greater Good Science Center, they study the psychology, sociology, and neuroscience of well-being and how we foster a more thriving, resilient, and compassionate society.
This research follows on the heels of many other studies showing that counting our blessings improves psychological, emotional, and physical well-being. In order to feel grateful, we must be present in the moment. And in order to teach our children the power of gratitude, they must feel our presence and appreciation each and every day.
In my research with teens that had developed the capacity to care for others, they talked at length about gratitude. Their feelings emerged through authentic relationships with parents, mentors, and people who struggled to overcome poverty and injustices.
The students in my research study echoed the sentiments in this video.
How do we bring gratitude into our homes and classrooms—so that children and teens learn to experience the wonder of each day? How do we adults bless young people with presence, not just presents?
As Dorothy Law Nolte expressed so beautifully in her poem Children Learn What They Live, it is adults who model a way of living to our children. If children are appreciated for the gifts they bring to the world, they learn to appreciate the gifts of others and the planet.
Today is unique among the days you share with your children or students. What sets humans apart from animals is our ability to express our gratitude in words. Research shows that when we speak our gratitude aloud, it becomes more powerful and transformative.
Take a moment to reflect.
How did a young person bless your life today? I invite you to share your answer in the comments section below.
If you’d like to expand the scientific understanding of gratitude, you can participate in the UC Berkeley study. Through the process of participating, you’ll learn to expand your skills to practice and spread gratitude to others. Visit the UC Gratitude Study website.
Subscribe to Updates at Roots of Action to receive email notices of Marilyn’s articles.
©2012 Marilyn Price-Mitchell. All rights reserved. Please contact for permission to reprint.
Image Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.Net