Part Three-Practicing Appreciation

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"Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well."

                           -Voltaire


It has been said that true happiness cannot be attained without appreciation.  If we are not aware of the value of what we have, then how can we fully enjoy all our blessings?

Being able to appreciate and see the importance of all we have in our lives, from the little things, to our family and friends, opens the door for experiencing true happiness and joy in life. When we appreciate ourselves, we are more likely to notice what others are doing for us and appreciate their efforts and love.  

Children are great at noticing when they are appreciated, but they tend to not actively think about what they appreciate. This is just a matter of practice, and can be helped along by parents and educators communicating and demonstrating their own appreciation. 


Remember to express how you appreciate the person they are and what they do. Talk to your children about the things you appreciate and why you appreciate them.

You can help your kids come up with different ways to show their appreciation, like making someone a special card, writing a poem, or offering to be there for someone in their time of need. Sometimes a child might have a unique way they want to express their appreciation, so be open to their uniqueness and allow them their express themselves.

Metro Family Magazine provides some great ways to practice this with your children. One of our favorite activities they include is called Photo Safari, where you give your child a camera and have them take pictures of everyone/everything that they appreciate at home. It is also good to allow your kids be creative and ask them how they want to show their appreciation. They will probably surprise you with some wonderful ways they want to express their appreciation!

One of the more difficult aspects of raising a child is teaching them to appreciate the obstacles in their life. This seems very counter-intuitive; why would anyone want to appreciate something that's gotten in the way of their goals or even hurt them? Many adults cannot comprehend this, so some may wonder how could a child possibly understand this concept? Despite the odd nature of this concept, it is a quite effective perspective for dealing with life's challenges. Ryan Holiday in his book, The Obstacle Is The Way, The Timeless Art of Turning Trial into Triumph, quotes Marcus Araleus, "The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way." To see each trial as a challenge and asking, "what can I learn from this?", can help you begin to see opportunities through your appreciation of the obstacle.

One way of helping your child cultivate this perspective is to ask them what they did that helped them succeed and what they learned from a recent challenge. You can even take it a step further and ask them to pretend the challenge was a "person," and they can show thanks for what "he/she" has taught them.

If your child has trouble with this concept, ease into it. Let them know you understand their situation is difficult, but because of it, they are learning much that will help them. Hopefully by the end of the challenge, doing all this will help them appreciate the entire experience as a learning opportunity. We want to enable our children to take away something positive and realize that, because of the challenge, they are who they are supposed to be now: a more experienced and stronger individual.

Children learn a lot through stories, so we wanted to share some great books that talk about appreciation to help them better understand and express appreciation in their lives.  The Best Children's Books offers a great compilation of books that discuss the subject of being grateful.  One of our favorites is the colorful and sweet book titled The Thankful Book by Todd Parr. Check them out and let us know what you think! 

We would like to know, what are some things that you and your children appreciate and why?

Share your response with us in two ways:

  1. Comment on this post below.

  2. Post your answer(s) on our Facebook page, Joy Sun Bear, or tag us on Twitter,@JoySunBear, and use the hashtag #appreciation.

Your participation means a lot to us, so thank you for sharing! Next week, we'll recap all we have learned about appreciation and share our word art based on the answers we have received.

Have a great week!

-Joy Sun Bear Family 

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1 thought on “Part Three-Practicing Appreciation”

  1. I feel like appreciation and gratitude are the two things lacking the most in this world. If we can learn to remember these two things I believe our world would be a better place! Starting with our children and teaching these life lessons is such a wonderful start to changing our world!

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