This short lesson is aimed at helping young people develop an attitude of gratitude. Research shows that gratitude helps people be happier and deal with stress better.
Talk with the youth about how being grateful for the things in their lives can help increase their happiness and decrease stress.
Ask them what they think it means to be grateful. They might say that it means thankful, appreciating what they have, or feeling pleased or content. If no youth offer ideas, prompt them with these ideas or your own.
But feeling grateful isn’t always easy and isn’t something that everyone does naturally. It’s pretty easy to compare yourself to those around you and wish you had what they had, or to focus on the challenges and frustrations in your lives.
Being grateful is a muscle you can build. Just like you learn or develop a new skill or strength through practice, you can improve your attitude of gratitude by working on it a little bit each day.
Ask young people to think about these perspectives:
Give youth a chance to respond. Then talk about that there are more than six million people in the world who don’t have clean water for drinking, cooking, or cleaning themselves. Many people who don’t have these things end up getting sick because of it.
More than 1/3 of people living in the world today don’t have access to a working toilet? Talk about what people might do if they don’t have a working toilet. Some of these people have to use a hole in the ground. Others use an outhouse or something similar.
Sometimes we get so used to things that help keep us comfortable, safe and healthy, that we forgot to be grateful for them. These things are overlooked blessings.
Together as a class, make a list of overlooked blessings…things that you take for granted but for which, when you stop and think, you are grateful.
Post the list somewhere where everyone can see it regularly as a reminder.
Do a guided gratitude meditation together: http://www.changetochill.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Change_to_Chill_Gratitude.mp3
Distribute the Three Good Things worksheet. Encourage young people to continue to build their “gratitude muscles” by using the worksheet to help remind them of the good things in their lives.
Keep the list up for as long as seems helpful. Consider also sharing the ideas through social media or school or community resources.
Additional information about gratitude: http://www.changetochill.org/how-can-i/gratitude/
Hand out the Healthy Families Newsletter in English, Spanish, Somali and Hmong so that families can practice gratitude at home.