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Practicing Gratitude: Finding the Silver Lining in the Clouds of 2020
This Thanksgiving will be an unusual one. Time honored traditions like travel to see relatives and friends, attending large social gatherings, and watching stadium packed football games won’t be experienced as they have been in the past. 

For many, even mustering up a list of things to be grateful for may be a challenge.  And, the difficulty of 2020 is precisely why we need to practice, model, and teach GRATITUDE for ourselves and our children.

What does “Practice Gratitude” mean?

  • Gratitude describes the state of being grateful by consistently noticing the positive, good aspects of life and being thankful for the things we have. 
  • Gratitude is pausing to notice and appreciate the things we may often take for granted, like having a place to live, food, clean water, friends and family, transportation, technology, seeing people “in-person”, etc.
  • “Thank you” is an expression of words, appreciation is action, and gratitude is a practice. You can be thankful, appreciative, and grateful all at the same time!
  • Gratitude is not something you are born with. It can be taught, and it can be learned!

What are the benefits of teaching the practice of Gratitude to our children and youth?

“Gratitude is important because it not only helps us feel good but also because it inspires us to do good. Gratitude heals, energizes and transforms lives…Gratitude is about remembering…A French proverb states that Gratitude is the memory of the heart.” Robert Emmons, Ph.D., Gratitude Works

There are many research studies substantiating the benefits of practicing Gratitude. Dr. Emmons points out in his book: “Gratitude has one of the strongest links to mental health and satisfaction with life of any personality trait, more so than even optimism, hope, or compassion.”

 The focus of the CBSG® Program is to increase protective factors and build resiliency in children and youth. Gratitude does both. Studies show that practicing “an attitude of Gratitude” increases joy, enthusiasm, love, happiness, and optimism. Practicing Gratitude aligns with the Major Messages. It has been shown to improve psychological and physical health; help build meaningful relationships and connections; enhance social awareness skills such as empathy; improve self-awareness, self-confidence and self-efficacy; help to achieve goals; be better able to cope with stress and traumatic memories; and, enable a greater sense of purpose and future. 

Download this document for more details on the CBSG® Program's Major Messages.

What are some ways to teach kids about Gratitude and Gratitude Practices? (These 13 suggestions are not an exhaustive list – be creative and come up with your own practices.)

  1. Make a Gratitude Jar to collect words and drawings of things for which they are grateful.
  2. Keep a Gratitude Journal (written or drawn).
  3. Make a Gratitude Collage as a family.
  4. Write messages of Gratitude on pieces of heart shaped paper to give to others.
  5. Use everyday conversations as teachable moments to notice or teach Gratitude.
  6. Write messages of Gratitude to each family member and leave them hidden in places be found.
  7. At meal or bedtime, reflect upon the Gratitude “Sunshine’s” of the day.
  8. Perform acts of service for others (if you can, do them anonymously).
  9. Look for the silver lining when you experience a “Cloud” (things which don’t go as planned; “don’t like” feelings of sadness, anger, fear, etc.)
  10. Practice and teach the habit of saying “thank You”.
  11. Adapt familiar games to have a Gratitude twist.
  12. Read a book on Gratitude together as a family. (Check out this mont's Spotlight Moment below for a great suggestion.)
  13. Last, but not least, MODEL Gratitude!

Both common sense and science have proven choosing to focus on good things makes you feel better than focusing on bad things. So, in this memorable year of 2020, let us use this season to begin or renew the practice of Gratitude each day! 

We encourage you to begin practicing Gratitude now by responding to this article with something for which you are grateful.

Cathey Brown
CBSG® Program Developer

Resources:
Training Calendar
Virtual Workshop Series

Reserve your spot in our Fall Virtual Workshop Series. Please mark your calendars for:
 
  • Friday, November 20*
  • Tuesday, December 1 (10am-1pm)
  • Friday, December 4*
  • Tuesday, December 8*
  • Friday, December 11*
  • Friday, December 18*
*all workshops will be held from 10am-12pm CST
 
And, take a look at our Speaker line up! We are excited to have many of your favorite Speakers back and some soon to be favorites joining us!

YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS THESE SPEAKERS!

  • Sahreen Abedin, JD - Director of Communications, Dell Medical School at The University of Texas
  • Darius Campinha-Bacote, PsyD - Founder & CEO, Campinha-Bacote Psychological Services
  • Elizabeth Didlake, MA, CLC - Mental Health and Conflict Coach, The Inspire Programs, LLC
  • Katelyn Fuller, LMSW - Dallas County Juvenile Department
  • Nan Henderson, M.S.W., Ph.D. - President, Resiliency in Action
  • Bill Michener - ED, Lincoln Lighthouse - National Independent Trainer of Restorative Solutions, Inc.
  • Karen Williams, M.S.S.W. - Independent Trainer

Virtual CBSG Program Facilitator Training


Kids’ Connection, Youth Connection, and Kids’ Connection, Too (collectively known as the CBSG® Program ) are unique, interactive, multi-cultural curriculum-based prevention interventions that teach high-risk children and youth ages 4-17 a set of essential life skills: skills to help them learn how to cope with difficult family situations (which include Adverse Childhood Experiences), resist negative peer pressure, set and achieve goals, and refuse alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. 

This training is designed to fully prepare schools, community-based organizations, churches, juvenile justice divisions, volunteers, and other youth service professionals to fully implement the CBSG Program with fidelity. 

Those completing this training will receive their choice one of the CBSG Program Facilitator manuals:
  • Kids’ Connection for ages 4-12 in Schools and Communities
  • Youth Connection for ages 10-17 in Schools and Communities
  • Kids’ Connection, Too for Ages 4-15 in Homeless & Domestic Violence Shelters, Group Homes & Other Transitional Living Environments

Please contact us at info@RainbowDaysTraining.org for more information!
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CBSG® Program Facilitator Connection Calls

Join us for our CBSG® Program Facilitator Connection meeting on Wednesday, January 20, 2021 from 11:00-11:45 a.m. CT. Come connect with the Developer, Trainers, and fellow CBSG® Program Facilitators. And, we don't want you to miss out on a Spotlight Moment success story. Attendance is FREE but registration is required. Please click the dates above to register for one or both calls!

If you were not able to join us for November's call, please click here to view the recording. (access passcode: #RDIFacilitatorCall1117)

Please email any questions or concerns to be answered in upcoming meetings to info@rainbowdaystraining.org.
Spotlight Moment
A special shout out and thank you to the Spotlight Moment from our November CBSG Program Facilitator Call, Recovery Resource Council (RRC) from the DFW area!  Lisa Reiling read Last Stop on Market Street, which is a wonderful example of appreciating diversity, perspective-taking (empathy), social engagement, and gratitude! Check out the Call's recording to read the book along with Lisa! 
“Sometimes when you are surrounded by dirt…you’re a better witness for what’s beautiful.”
Then, Alyssa Flores shared examples of the many things they are doing during these crazy COVID times to creatively stay connected to the children, youth, and families they serve in their communities.  

RRC's Tips for virtual facilitation:
 
  • Use slideshows with pictures and videos for every lesson
  • Play music during class when they are working on something individually
  • Drop off activities, games, and supply packs each week to play and do during group time
  • Create worksheets so the participants can fill in the blanks as you discuss the group topic 
  • Give a set of prize incentives to the teacher/counselor ahead of time
  • Use CrowdPurr to create virtual quizzes 
  • Jeopardy and other interactive games have been a hit with the kids
  • Games, games, and more games! 
Virtual Activity Guides Now Available

We want to ensure everyone is aware the Virtual Activity Guides for Kids' Connection and Youth Connection are available on our website for immediate download.
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