A Quick Gratitude Post…

Greetings All,

I’d like to share a fabulous e-mail that we received about Gratitude Month and it’s effect on an instructor and school owner…Please forward us your best gratitude story for the month!

best,

Jason M. Silverman

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Hi Jason and Dr. Robyn,

I have a story for you! We did not actually celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week this year, but I did mention it to my classes on Monday and Tuesday. I recommended to the kids that this was a great time to show their gratitude to their favorite teachers with more than saying “Thank You.”

On Thursday, I received a small rose plant and a hand-made card (by an almost 5 year-old) that said “Dear Ma’am, Thank you for teaching us.” It was signed by all four members of the family that trains with us. Dad and older brother are advanced students, and mom and little brother are beginners. After the beginner class (while Dad and Big Bro were training) I noticed Mom and Little Bro working on an art project while they waited for the other two. Mom was telling the little guy how to spell “Dear Mr. Pete.” Then I heard her say “well… what do you like to do with him?” When I walked over on a break, he had written on another home-made card “Dear Mr. Pete. Thank you for playing with me.”

Thank you so much. I know what it meant to me to receive that hand-made card, and it’s so amazing that because of our program, at least two other teachers got the same smile. It never ceases to amaze me how much *I* learn from the Word of the Month program.

Cheers!

Kristin C. Quintana
Owner, Chief Instructor
Kuk Sool Won(tm) of Menlo Park

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10 Ways to Teach Teens to Show Gratitude: The First 5 Ways

10 Ways to Teach Your Teen Gratitude: The First 5 Ways

*This article was posted on Dr. Robyn’s Powerful Parenting Blog as a service to Powerful Words Family Schools. While this article is directed towards parents, as teachers and coaches, in the spirit of gratitude month, we can all learn something from it. Who doesn’t want to learn how to better understand and work with teens?

Is that what I deserve after helping you? What am I going to do with you?!”

You might hear this cry of frustration among parents of teens as they struggle with their child’s mood swings and opposition to authority. Caught between the desire to see their teens individuate and the longing for a time, only a few short years ago, when their teens used to need them, want them around, and perhaps even “worship” them a little, Mom and Dad might be dealing with their own growing pains.

“You’re ruining my life! Just leave me alone!”

On the other hand, these might just be the lines of their teens, who, with raging hormones and a natural desire to spend time with friends (and less time with you), are realizing that they’re too old to play yet are too young to decide how they’re going to run their life.

Adolescence is certainly a crazy time for both parents and teenagers. But it doesn’t have to be unpleasant. As adults, parents can think of ways to help their teens as they go through this important journey in their lives. It takes a lot of patience, determination, creativity, reflection…and yes, stress-management.

One way to make living with your teen more tolerable and enjoyable, is to help them develop a grateful outlook on life. As parents, we can’t demand that our teenagers be grateful of us or anyone else. However, we can’t simply accept an ungrateful attitude and a sense of entitlement from them either.

So what are we to do?

Here are the first 5 tips to help your teens keep the importance of gratitude in the forefront:

(1) Clarify the difference between rights and privileges. In today’s world of modern conveniences, we take many things for granted. We don’t realize that conveniences are privileges rather than our rights. For example, it’s the right of our children to be clothed, but it’s a privilege for them to wear designer jeans. It’s the right of our children to be educated, but it’s a privilege for them to have access to after-school programs and specialty classes. Our children don’t need to earn their rights but they do need to earn their privileges. Help your teens discover the blessings they have been given. This doesn’t mean lecturing– but a discussion of news stories that show people’s rights being violated or dinner conversation about stories teens who do not have many privileges will help to make this distinction more obvious.

(2) Be a model of gratitude. That means show it, recognize it, and appreciate it when you see it. When your teen demonstrates kind, thoughtful behavior, be sure to show gratitude. Don’t let sleeping dogs lie. Nothing feels better than being appreciated for the little things such as putting the plates in the sink without being asked or making the bed. Resist the temptation to say; “FINALLY, you did it– why don’t you do this all the time!” It will backfire. In addition, show gratitude for others, whether it’s a neighbor who brings in your mail or the store clerk that helps you with your groceries, when they help you or do something to make your life a little more convenient or worthwhile. Our own gratitude shows our teens that it’s important to be grateful even for both small and grand gestures.

(3) Keep a positive attitude and stop whining. It may sounds corny, but a grateful, positive outlook tends to make life, well, more positive. Every morning, find something for which to be grateful; the sun shining, the garden getting the rain it needed, the fact that your neighbor remembered to put his robe on before getting his paper. Notice something positive about your teen. Compliment him but don’t overpraise. This could be as simple as telling him how good he looks in his blue shirt or as significant as telling him how much you appreciate the hug he gives you ever morning.

(4) Acknowledge failure and frustration—both yours and your child’s. Owning one’s weakness is the first step to learning and improving. Adding humor to the situation when possible/appropriate will help lighten things too. Say- “Oops, I guess I messed up, sorry about that,” “I must have left my brain on my pillow this morning—I’ll go get it,” or “Everyone makes mistakes—we can be thankful that we have the ability to fix them.” Then, end the conversation with hope: “Thank goodness, there’s still tomorrow. We’ll do better next time.”

(5) Find the Good in the situation. Many situations which appear “bad,” often can result in something good. It may be tough, but try to be a “good-finder” and show your children how to do the same. For example, The Seemingly Bad: Your teen has to stay home on a Friday night and baby-sit her younger sibling. The Good? They find this movie on TV that was so funny that they had a blast watching it together. The Benefit? This will teach them to look for the good and not be so quick to complain.

Gratitude is a state of mind. It takes a conscious mindset and a willingness to stop and take notice of everything that makes life better, more convenient, and more fulfilling. Surround your teen with gratitude; grateful people, things to be grateful for, and models of gratitude and he’ll surely get the picture. Teens can seem like they’re not paying attention but in reality, they carry our voices and our examples everywhere they go. So go ahead. They’re watching and listening. And they want to talk to you.

Stay tuned for 10 Ways to Teach Your Teen Gratitude; Volume 2: The Next 5 Ways

Have a Powerful Week!

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Idol Gives Back: A Way to Teach Children Gratitude and Charity

*This article was posted in an altered form on Dr. Robyn’s Powerful Parenting Blog as a service to Powerful Words Schools and their participating families.

Sometimes, the media can be used for the power of good. Perhaps some of your children stayed up to watch “Idol Gives Back” last night, a star-studded charity show used as a vehicle to raise millions of dollars for several children’s charities around the world.

Since we’re focused on gratitude month in all Powerful Words family member schools, it’s important to find examples of giving and giving back. As you will see in the last week of this month’s curriculum, we will be talking about what charity and giving back has to do with gratitude. Questions such as; Can giving back feel as good as receiving? What does giving have to do with gratitude; and How do you feel inside when you give to someone and it’s appreciated? Will help the children tie gratitude to giving, not just receiving.

These questions, along with others, will help children, who are so often focused on “what’s in it for them” to focus on others who don’t have as much. This helps in several ways; (1) They recognize how blessed they are; (2) They see that while they may not have everything they want, they have what they need; (3) They can discuss the “people in need” that many are working to help and support across the world; (4) They can see powerful words such gratitude, charity, citizenship, and empathy in action; and (5) They can connect the power of giving to the powerful word, charity.

Idol Gives Back:

Charities: The Children’s Defense Fund, The Global Fund, Make It Right, Malaria No More, Save The Children, U.S. Programs and the Children’s Health Fund.

Celebrities: Annie Lennox, Celine Dion, Bono, Carrie Underwood, Brad Pitt, Robin Williams, Forest Whitaker, Billy Crystal, Dane Cook, Kiefer Sutherland, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Jennifer Connolly, Elliott Yamin, Fantasia and Amy Adams, Reese Witherspoon, Miley Cyrus, Mariah Carey, Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, Fergie, Chris Daughtry, John Legend, Snoop Dogg, Maroon 5, Heart and Gloria Estefan.

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If your students did watch some or all of Idol Gives Back, as many of them likely did, take the opportunity to talk to them about giving to charity and being grateful. Why do they think so many celebrities got involved? What stuck out for them? Tell them how you feel about giving to others and how you have giving of your time, effort, or money to assist others in need. How would they like to help? Perhaps they would like to give some of their money to charity (i.e. allowance or birthday money). Perhaps as one of their spring activities, they’d like to donate their time to a local charity. There are many things they can do, that don’t cost any money at all, that can really help others and fill the heart with gratitude.

In the spirit of gratitude, we thank you.

Heads up! Get Ready For Teacher Appreciation Week

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April is gratitude month! How about some Spring Cleaning? While we are still in March, we are busily getting your Powerful Words curriculum ready for next month when Powerful Words schools can run the wildly successful “Teacher Appreciation Week!”

Here are a few helpful hints to bring your school appearance up a notch:

  1. Fix old or peeling paint.
  2. Trash dead plant carcasses.
  3. Provide storage for coats, shoes, and student belongings.
  4. Paint one wall a bright color to make it look less stark.
  5. Place informational bulletin boards, along with your Powerful Words Board in ]the parents’ area or highly trafficked spot in your school.
  6. Put away your “stuff” that clutters your desk and entry way.
  7. Hang inspirational pictures and school achievements in a prominent area.
  8. Place new and current student pictures on a bulletin board or in a photo album
  9. Clean, dust, and vacuum…everyday.
  10. Get Powerful Words Curriculum in an easy display album to show teachers
  11. Make sure staff appearance looks professional and greetings are friendly, open, and accessible.
  12. Systemize. There is no substitute.

Don’t wait! Take a look at your Powerful Words Jumpstart Guide (in your instant success launch kit) that will go into more detail. If you don’t have this guide, be sure to contact Jason immediately.

Here’s to a great month!

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