Raising Gratitude: Value or Necessity?

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I like an old joke:

– Daughter, who do you most love?

– I love potatoes and tea.

– No, I mean people!

“Mommy, but I don’t eat people.”

As you know, there is a shard of truth in every joke…

Working with a six-year-old child became a real shock for me. At the class on the development of stress resistance, he asked me a question, which was really interesting for him: “What is gratitude?”

It wasn’t a nominal question, but a sincere one. The boy has an iPhone 7 and can easily download any application and talk to a taxi driver in a foreign country, but has no notion of simple moral principles.

Let’s consider his future prospects from the viewpoint of scientists, not moralists.

Every parent knows perfectly well that nothing can change ‘on its own’. All the habits and qualities that exist in children get only stronger over the time. They turn into character traits and permanent behavior patterns.

Parents of a six-year-old boy adore him without a doubt. But there is a great risk of facing a crude reality in the future. Anything may happen as soon as the child feels that he has ‘grown up’. According to up-to-date statistics, it happens beginning from the age of 12 years. Children begin to claim their rights to independence. And then the opposite effect will occur. Parents will have to ask themselves a perennial question: ‘What shall we do?’. After all, they will face the set of their son’s moral principles. A wave of ingratitude, which is present in its full force, will overwhelm them in response.

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This will show up in details. Parents themselves bring up their son in a world, where he is represented as quite a prominent person. It is parents who have to deserve his attention. So he can refuse them in his attention at one time or another. And he owes them nothing. After all, he had already suffered long enough. Another thing, if parents try to remind whom he owes a debt of gratitude to have such a smartphone, clothes and money, they usually get agressive reaction in responce. Not because their child is bad. Just because such alternative as gratitude don’t exist in his world.

Let’s state from the very beginning, there is no use in hoping that school will be able to save the situation somehow, it’s naive. School may give nothing, but suppression and restrictions. Children develop some outward patterns of interaction with adults, but only for adaptation. These qualities do not come ‘from the inside’. The reflexively said “thank you” does not mean yet that a child will appreciate the efforts of his parents.

It’s only Her Majesty’s life which can be of some help!! Life is able to change the way children comprehend the world mostly with the help of its laws, cruelty and justice. The major weapon of life is shock .

Children should be prepared for life. It’s not only about its form, but also about its main points. Children, who posses no gratitude, as one of the basic human feelings, will remain a hostage of circumstances for a long time. Their life will become an endless process of consumption. They will not understand why people have such a strange reaction to their natural way of behavour. The society, no matter how cold hearted and ungrateful, is still extremely aggressive to people who are deprived of human qualities. Happiness or feeling of love are difficult to speak about in such conditions. It is extremely difficult to develop such qualities, as respect and gratitude to parents, generosity and nobility in adult age. Children either develop them in childhood, or don’t develop them at all.

I am happy that we have managed to bring the specifics of the situation to the parents. One of the most important principles of a human being could have passed by the child. Now he has a chance for a different life. Now it’s up to the parents.

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