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A Big Reason to Appreciate the Small Stuff

Modeling positivity for our children can help them find more joy in their lives.

Key points

  • When we model positive behaviors, children often incorporate those behaviors into their own lives.
  • Finding joy in daily activities helps us be more appreciative of the good things in our lives.
  • Our lives can be enriched by being more conscious of our positive experiences.

When was the last time you felt excited about something? Perhaps it was when you got a raise at work, or when you purchased a new car. Maybe it was during a vacation you took with your family. These examples all have one thing in common: They don’t happen very often. If it takes a big event to cause you to become excited about something in your life, you're unfortunately missing the chance to appreciate it day in and day out.

Perhaps you feel there aren’t many things going on to be appreciative for at the moment. It seems to me that we can all find something positive that’s happening in our lives right now if we try to recognize them.

Recognizing What to Appreciate

What if just getting our favorite fast-food meal, or taking in the joy we feel when we are around friends was something we gave real value to and fully appreciated? If that were the case, our lives would be much more satisfying and joyous. It could also make a big difference in the way we model behavior for children. By making something fun and sharing with kids the specialness of the moment, we can help them see the value in everyday pleasures. Think of how excited we were as children when we got an ice-cream cone on a hot day or the excitement of a personal accomplishment like an “A” on a test at school? These are the kinds of feelings we can continue to generate on a daily basis if we recognize the value of appreciating what we have as opposed to focusing only on what we don’t have.

Children Are Paying Attention

Children learn from our behaviors to either appreciate the things in their lives or to take them for granted. For example, when kids see adults show affection to their spouses it can help them grow up to be adults who show affection to their partners. This, in turn, can lead to happier lives, with more appreciation for that connection. Children pick up on what’s normal in their household and then carry it with them to adulthood.

What types of people do we like to spend time with in our lives? The chances are it’s the more positive people who appreciate the lives they're leading. While we all know people who tend to look at life through the prism of negativity, seeing it through a lens of appreciation and optimism gives us a better outlook and a more enjoyable view of the world.

A Positive Perspective

We can model a sense of appreciation for our children every day. It’s as simple as taking a moment to appreciate a meal we enjoy or a movie we’ve wanted to see, or just appreciating a walk in the park or the positive energy of sharing good times with friends. These may seem like small things to truly appreciate, but they’re not. They’re the little things that create joy and satisfaction throughout our lives.

Think of it this way: If we judge the positive things that happen in our life by big events, then we only get to be happy a relatively small percentage of the time. If we can find joy in the little things and truly appreciate all of the positive aspects of our lives then we can be happy for a much larger percentage of our days. This, in turn, models appreciation to children, to help them grow into adulthood experiencing joy and positiveness for a larger percentage of their own lives. That would be something we could appreciate as well.

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