Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Parenting Suggestion #457

I love working with the teenage young women at church. I love the girls, and I love that I get to run the program and plan things that I think really help them in their many relationships and their spiritual development.

But let's face it. Teenage girls are not known for their gratitude.

It's not that they're UNgrateful! In fact, I've learned to accept it as a very sincere compliment when they think on their way out the door to turn and call out, "Thanks! This was, like, so fun!"

It's just that they rarely go out of their way to say:
"Hey, Sister Justrandi, thank-you so much for the hours and hours you spent on that great activity! I just wanted you to know that it really made me think about my relationship with the Savior. I also noticed that you coordinated the invitations and the centerpieces to fit the theme. That must have been a lot of work, and I really appreciate it."

Yeah, no.

And I don't really even expect that.

There IS one family in our ward, however, that tries to teach their daughters (and sons) to say thanks, and then one other thing when they leave an event, whether it's a church activity or a birthday party, or a dinner with a friend.

And can I just tell you there is nothing that warms my heart faster than to hear
"Thanks, Sister Justrandi! And I really liked those chocolate pretzels you made."
(or whatever they honestly liked.)

Just say SOMETHING. It's good for them to make a point to notice efforts of others. And it's really good for me to hear it sometimes. I mean, I'll run that program the best way I can, whether anyone's grateful or not. But boy, it sure seems easier when I think maybe someone noticed at least a little piece of my work.

Those kids are cultivating some serious people skills, all because their parents taught them to do so. If this is something you're teaching your kids, may I just say -



Heather said...

That is something we are trying hard to teach, it makes everyone involved feel great to say thanks!

Melissa said...

This is something that I am working on with my kids. Whenever I get Red from a friend's house or Scouts I encourage him to say "Thank you"... but I like the idea of adding one more thing. I think we may have to have a FHE on this!

kristen said...

I gave a talk on gratitude several years ago. It really is the essence of true worship (of God of course; not necessarily YW leaders) It is so vital that we teach children to be thankful; and you're right--teenagers don't often express it (blame it on the hormones, varying emotions, bodies out of whack...). But they need to learn appreciation for what's done for them and given to them. I would also hope that the parents, who are mature enough, show their gratitude to you and the other leaders for your efforts. To tell you the truth, I've only heard a 'thanks' come from outside our own presidency or bishopric like once or twice for my work in the primary. But, whatever. I agree, it's nice to be appreciated.

It all starts in the home.

Kimberly said...

Our kids say thank you to the bagger at the grocery store. We're doing -something- right. =P

Jenny said...

I think you're right it is a big deal. I have kids who thank me for driving the carpool everyday. I think to myself "do my kids say thank you to the other parents?" I also think a lot depends on our example. How often do I thank the teacher, or person helping me? Hummm

Janell said...

If I've learned anything from reading blogs its 1) Mothers want a little appreciation and 2) People want others to recognize their efforts.

So, in that light I realize I've neglected to express my appreciation of your blog. Thank you, person I've never met, for adding a bit of cheer to my day =)

Yvonne said...

I love the title of the post "Parenting Suggestion". Kids don't do what they're not taught--and what they watch their parents do. How many of them ever hear their parents thank a speaker, or thank the Bishop, or thank those young men who bless and pass the Sacrament. Even when we pray, is expressing gratitude a big part of our prayers???

Thanks for the great reminder. You do such a wonderful job, justrandi, and I appreciate you.

Tori :) said...

I remember my days working in YW. Sooooo much work and very little Thanks.
Good for you justrandi!!

Anonymous said...

Gratitude. It should be way of life. "In all things give thanks".

Anonymous said...

Gratitude. It should be way of life. "In all things give thanks".

Earl said...

People always point out the story of the 10 lepers and how only one of them expressed gratitude to the Savior. I think that sometimes we are too hard on the other 9. They were grateful, they were overjoyed. And I think the Savior probably knew that, they just forgot in their delirium to express that thanks. He would have liked them to express it, or he probably wouldn't have made the comment that he did, but he didn't give them back their leprosy.

The MomBabe said...

Yes! I'm doing something right.

Marilyn said...

THANK YOU for having such a fun blog!

Traci said...

SUCH a great insight. Love the tip to teach children to add a little bit of sincere appreciation for something specific - it really does go far.

It's also funny how much more grateful we get for all the things leaders and parents did for us all those times when suddenly we're the leaders and parents. Who knew all those perfectly orchestrated and decorated activities were so much WORK?! :) Keep it up - you are really blessing those girls' lives, even if they don't articulate it.

No Cool Story said...

I love jenny, Yvonne and Earl's comments.

Thank you justrandi for your work with the YW, you are making a big difference in the lives :)

Nancy Face said...

I show gratitude, because it's a very big deal to me! I also teach my children to show gratitude, and I make them write those thank you notes after Christmas or their birthday or graduation. But I have no idea if they show gratitude when their momma isn't around to breathe down their necks! I can only hope that my example will stick with them, and they will say those simple words that mean so much to others! :)

Tonya said...

I'm doing my very best to make sure that my child will be one of those for you.

Gratitude and manners go a long long way. Like you said, it's not that you expect it but we put our hearts into our callings and it's nice to hear a simple thank you from time to time.

Lauren said...

Thank you for writing such awesome posts:)

Stacey said...

Years ago I was Activites Director for a large singles ward. I used to rant that my job was:
1. Convince every person that chooses to attend that it will be the greatest night of their lives and they will meet their eternal companion.
2. At the end of the event, personally thank everyone for coming and making my night including thanking committee members who took assignments and did not complete them.
3. Clean up after the entire group WITH JOY!

Thanks for the reminder to teach our children gratitude. said...

maybe your teens girls could have a blog and call it "so UNgrateful to be mormon."

compliments are awesome. sometimes feel like i could live on em.


Salt H2O said...

Two things:
1- I still feel guilty to this day about how I once treated a beehive advisor. I have repented many many times for it, but the guilt still haunts me- the same thing will probably happen to these girls.

2- I teach the Mia Maids- last year there was a lesson on gratitude and I took a different strategy with them, I taught them that by being grateful you get more presents. It was an interesting and fun lesson to teach.

elasticwaistbandlady said...

I teach my kids to not only say thank you but to also offer to help clean up.

I'm also a raging control freak about thank you notes. I've decided to stop sending stuff to people because they won't say thank you. It's nothing punitive or or hateful or anything, I really like the people, I just can't stand spending time and money without even a "Yeah. Thanks."