At times, it may be difficult to see how one small event leads to another, and another, and so on. However, overall it makes sense that the small events, tasks, and decisions—the little things—add up and lead to great things. Children see events and decisions in isolation, unable to see their long-term effects. I spend year after year teaching children how to synthesize the relationship of events over time in books. Too often, however, children are not explicitly taught to understand this same relationship in their own lives.
Focusing on small positive events in our life, we exude a more positive attitude, which in turn attracts positivity. The positivity cycle continues as long as events stay positive. The trick is to understand these (small) accomplishments or positive moments as they relate to one another and how they correlate to the big picture. If we can accomplish this positivity, then we can truly appreciate our fortune! In this appreciation, we gain a genuine sense of gratitude and harmony.
Of course, living a harmonious life full of gratitude and appreciation for the positive sounds divine. As you may assume, it is not easy and requires regular practice. Even more difficult is to guide children to live in this mindset. This is one of the many times, and perhaps one of the most essential times, that you not only lead by example by living your life from a positive perspective but also be a voice of encouragement to your child. If left to their own devices, children overshadow their accomplishments with other experiences. Their positive moments and accomplishments can seem trivial in isolation. It is your approval and encouragement that adds value to the small pieces of greatness and puts their accomplishments within the context of their life as a whole, making them more visibly powerful. By engaging in conversations that encourage thoughtful acknowledgment of the big picture, your child is more likely to view their day-to-day life and their future as a whole from a place of positivity.
- Discuss gratitude. Discuss gratitude all year—not just around the holiday season. Remind your child that there is something to be thankful for every day. If you place importance on acknowledging your gratitude and vocalize specific parts of your life or the world that you are grateful for, your child will adopt your perspective.
- Make connections to books. Many children’s books are designed to mirror the experiences of children. Make connections between the books they read and what is happening in their own life. Books are a great teaching tool both in and out of the classroom.
- Be your child’s lens. When children have a hard time seeing how events and their actions fit together and are a part of the bigger picture of their life, encourage them to reflect. Don’t merely tell them the connection; instead, guide them in discovering the connections on their own. You may ask leading questions to help them discover their feelings on the event or accomplishment, and ask them to state how or why it relates to their goals.