“The cultivation of this universal gratitude toward the world is of paramount importance. It does not always need to be in one’s consciousness, but may simply live in the background of the feeling life, so that, at the end of a strenuous day, one can experience gratitude, for example, when entering a beautiful meadow full of flowers……And if we only act properly in front of the children, a corresponding increase in gratitude will develop within them for all that comes to them from the people living around them, from the way they speak or smile, or the way such people treat them.” Rudolf Steiner from “A Child’s Changing Consciousness as the basis of pedagogical practice” –
I have always loved this idea that the concept of gratitude is planted within the first seven years of life as this seed that later grows into how we love people and the world, and then how we have a duty toward people and the world as an outgrowth of gratitude and love. That, to me, is one of the true pathways and one of the ultimate goals of education and parenting inspired by Rudolf Steiner.
Gratitude is embedded in the way one looks at the world. It colors what words we choose to use with our spouses and partners, with our extended family, with our friends and with our children. Some of my long-term readers may remember this post: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/08/19/using-our-words-like-pearls/
It also colors our deeds and actions. How do we show our gratitude to the world – whether this is my small corner of the world in my home or the whole world?
If we model gratitude, then our children learn gratitude. If we are never satisfied, never content, never happy, nothing is ever right, then our children learn to crave more and more. If they see the love we have for all of humanity, then they will learn that gracious love.
Today is Candlemas, a beautiful day of light in the church. May we all carry the light of gratitude within us, and shine this light for our children. Let us show and teach our children how to be content in all circumstances and how to place others before themselves.
Grateful for all of you tonight,