One imperative lesson that everyone learns early in life is manners. As a child, you learn to respect your elders by addressing them as uncle and auntie or Mr. and Mrs., in addition to stating the standard please and thank you. However, as trends bring new norms like instant results and gamification principles to life, we are slacking on socializing our kids.
Yes, practicing politeness should ideally start at home, but it doesn’t have to stay there either – after all, joining Girl Guides is about helping the community. So let’s make an effort to instil a little gratitude in the next generation. I took these suggestions from a segment of The Social as inspiration.
- Focus on the positive – It’s so easy for Girls to complain about their lives, the big test they have coming up, their annoying little brother or sister or the present they didn’t get for their birthday. Take their minds off of the negative and point them towards the positive. What’s their favourite subject in school? What’s the best part about having a sibling? What did she like about the party? It will start to become a loop: focusing on the positive will make them feel more grateful, which in turn will continue to highlight the positive.
- Gratitude walk – on a hike or camping trip, ask your Girls to notice the simple beauties of being outside. This can include the majestic landscapes, the sound of wind blowing in the trees or the strength of the flowing river. Taking them outside of the normal city setting also shows them that there is an alternative experience to what they take for granted every day.
- Put those positive sentiments into words – it’s one thing to note something positive in your mind, but speaking it out loud will also help Girls to be present in the moment and express their gratitude more easily
- Skip the thank you – by eliminating the phrase thank you, you force the Girls to put more thought into the moment. What is she thankful for exactly? How can it be rephrased using appreciate, notice, recognize? Can this experience happen more often?
- Say Grace before eating – the act of saying Grace makes Girls mindful for the good fortune they have in front of them – friends around the table and food on the table. Here are some non-religious versions of Grace you can use in your own unit:
- Record those good feelings – writing it down will help your Girls remember the great experiences in their lives. At the same time, they will realize that they don’t need a specific toy or money to have fun.
- Start a gratitude journal – this can be part of the Discover What’s Important to You scrapbook challenge. You can give them writing prompts like What’s a good story you heard from the people you were volunteering with today? Which was your favourite craft so far? What did you like about camp? Naturally these answers will also represent what each girl likes and her strengths, which also corresponds to the challenge.