I've witnessed a handful of excellent lessons on gratitude. Most of these lessons have come from observing young children in the way they live and pray and experience life. Through my work in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, children have shown me the simplicity of being in God's presence and delighting in His good gifts.
I think that young children have a natural aptitude towards gratitude. Especially gratitude towards God. It's not that young children usually express their gratitude with many words. In fact, they often need to be taught that it's appropriate to say "Thank you" when given a gift, but it seems as if their true thankfulness and appreciation is felt and expressed within their whole being.
Gratitude seems to arise spontaneously in children. They take time to receive and experience what is given. They enjoy.
I think this is because children know how to delight in the gift. If they are given the time as well as an environment that supports them, they truly can stop and wonder and enjoy what is around them. I've witnessed it many times in very simple ways: a face lit up with laughing delight while holding a tiny mustard seed, an attentive silent calm after the lighting of a candle, a joyful smile after a song together, a shared excitement with a friend after a new discovery, or a stillness after a prayerful reading of a single line of Scripture.
Today's Psalm reads, "I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart!" (Psalm 111:1)
I, too, want to give thanks to God with all my heart. I want to learn how to delight in God's good gifts and praise Him for His goodness. Like children, who have the ability to notice, appreciate, and enjoy what is given.
What can you appreciate today? What can you delight in? Can you take a few moments to enjoy something today?
Mary Catherine Craige enjoys spending her time creating art, writing, and playing her Irish harp. She uses her experience as a Montessori teacher and catechist to serve young children through the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. As a life coach for business leaders, she encourages and challenges women in all walks of life to more deeply discover their purpose and live their full potential. You can find out more about her here.