The Importance of Teaching Our Kids Gratitude at Christmas

The Importance of Teaching Our Kids Gratitude at Christmas

By Jamie Matthewman
December 4th, 2013

A father on Christmas Eve put into one son’s stocking a fine gold watch, and into another son’s, a pile of horse manure. The next morning, the first boy comes to his father and says glumly, “Dad, I just don’t know what I’ll do with this watch. It’s so fragile. It could break.” The other boy runs to him and says, “Daddy! Daddy! Santa left me a pony, if only I can just find it!” Taken from Triumphs of Experience: The Men of the Harvard Grant Study

Being separated from my son’s mum, you could say means he’s in the lucky position to get two visits from Santa each year! Especially during his early years, I wanted to ensure he never felt like he was getting short changed by Santa’s visit to my house – or should I say my ego didn’t want to be outdone. So the end result was a Christmas present pile the size of a small mountain!

As fathers it’s only natural to want to see our kids faces light up on Christmas morning. However over recent years I’ve stopped trying to keep up with his mum, one of the reasons is because a few Christmases past, after my son had opened all of his presents, he uttered the words ‘is that it?’.

As you can imagine my heart sank, but it wasn’t his fault. As one of his most important teachers in life, I’d not done my job properly. The precedent was set years before, as each year he’d been given more and more ‘stuff’. I had failed to teach him appreciation and gratitude, although admittedly the circumstances weren’t ideal.

What’s The Right Amount of Money to Spend on Your Kids at Christmas?

I have no idea, but what I do know is we’ve created a world where from a very early age, kids are conditioned to consume – to desire more. At this time of year the frequency of toy commercials increases ten fold, placing shiny new ideas in the minds of our children to want more and more.

And whilst Christmas is a wonderful time, it often adds an unnecessary financial burden, as Santa’s list seems to extend each year. Children and parents wallets are being exploited by a society consumed by consumption.

So whilst on some level maybe it does matter ‘how much’ you spend on your kids, what really counts is how well we teach them to appreciate what they already have, before giving them more. Otherwise there’s no chance of them truly being happy in years to come because wanting more can never lead to contentment.

Obviously to be able to really teach this well, you need to be truly grateful and appreciative for what you already have. I missed the point for a long time. How are you doing?

Jamie Matthewman

About Jamie Matthewman

Jamie is the founder, main contributor and editor of The Inspired Man.

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