Lesson 78: Thankfunessl, Appreciation, Gratitude, Shall be Taught

Before the camp ended, all the students were required to write a thank you letter to their parents. All the students were serious and thoughtful regardless of their age except a kid. She covered her face with both her palms without writing anything on the paper. We approached her to show our concern but found out that she was crying. That child was a bit rebellious and always went out with strangers whom she knew through Wechat, which caused great worried from her mother. When I saw her crying, I asked myself, " Was she crying because she finally could understand her parents' heart?"

However, she refused to write the thank you letter after she stopped crying. Her reaction caused a great shock in us but we tried to lead her thinking with a few questions. After some moment of uneasiness, she unwillingly scrawled a few sentences, "Thank you daddy. Thanks for the dresses and phone, and thank you for the pocket money."

"How about your mummy? Don't you want to thank your mummy as well?"

She replied coldly, "There is nothing to thank for," as if there was great hatred between them. I sighed when I took the letter from her. I guessed I would be very upset if I were her mother. Hatred in return of fourteen years of efforts in raising and nurturing. What actually happened?

After I talked to her mother, I found out that she was a very intelligent girl when she was young, hence her mother felt reassured to spend more time and efforts on the other kid who needed more guidance due to his lacking in academic. Toys, books, snacks and pocket money were given easily once she asked for it. Thus, she was in the habit due to the leniency of both parents. Her mother started to reject her when she asked for the latest phone and laptop in recent two or three years because her mother thought that those gadgets were unnecessary for her. She was upset but did not stop there. In the end, she managed to get the phone by babying with her father. That was the reason she felt a bit thankful for her father.

Then, she started to chat with strangers using Wechat and even went out with those guys. Her mother was concerned so she confiscated the phone. However, she managed to get another phone through her father. So, her mother was asking, "What should I do?"

What should be done? It was a headache for me as well! Rome is not built in one day, a kid who got everything lost her right in demanding in all a sudden would hate the person who took away her right, as if a rich who lost everything in one night. Would she feel thankful? She would not understand the purpose of her mother's action. She could only see the facts which happened in front of her. Hence, it grew dissatisfaction and hatred. On the other hand, her father did not understand the mother because he did not know about the people that her daughter knew through Wechat. He was just a material supplier for his daughter.

Love should be given and taken. Love cannot exists if it is only given, nor an it exist if it is only taken. 

Thankfulness, Appreciation, and gratitude, shall be taught. The foundation is, parents must have be at the same side. If you want your child to learn what is thankfulness, appreciation and gratitude, you must not only give. Giving unconditionally means that your child are receiving it without any effort. Thus, the child only could see, hear and feel the love on the surface without knowing your intention behind it. One day, when you have to change the way you love your child, stop giving or take away the things that you had given them, they would be shock and doubt about your love. They could only see that they lose your love. They also could only see that you had taken away their belongings which make them feel hatred because you have taken their rights.

Hence, teach your children this simple value when they are still young: Love is gaining, and giving.  Well, 'love' is not exchangeable like goods. We do not want our children growing up with a wrong perception towards 'love' but we want them to realize that 'love' is something others are giving to them as well as something that he could give to others.

When children learn how to give, they would know what is thankfulness, appreciation and gratitude.

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