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Great Fathers Trait #4: Appreciating Things

September 16, 2011

"There is nothing to do."

You ever hear these words from your kids, “I am SO BORED!!!”  I am thinking in my head, yeah I get it, aside from the laptop, IPAD, gaming system, smartphone, netflix, cable, books, board games and even good old conversation, there is absolutely nothing to do!!! It is easy to go down the road of “kids today are so spoiled and entitled.”  Clearly, there is some truth to that, but let’s take a little closer look.

Why are kids entitled and spoiled?  I think the main reason is they have not been adequately taught to appreciate things. Dads, we are absolutely key players in helping our kids learn to appreciate the world around them.  Our kids take our lead when it comes to appreciation.  We need to help our kids see value in everything and therefore create a mindset of appreciation and thankfulness.

We appreciate food by not wasting it or overeating.  We appreciate our clothes by taking care of them, even doing our own laundry!!!  We appreciate a car by paying for some of the insurance or making a down payment.  We appreciate education by taking our studies seriously and applying ourselves.  We appreciate nature by taking care of it and not leaving a  human footprint.  We appreciate our spouse by doing special things for her, without expecting something back in return.  We appreciate the people around us by doing random acts of  kindness. We appreciate money by sticking to a budget.  We appreciate all of our “stuff”, by realizing there are many other less fortunate.

Appreciation, like most things in life, can be learned.  As fathers, we need to consistently challenge and remind (not shame) our kids about their blessings.  The core of appreciation is an attitude of thankfulness.  Once kids grasp the idea that they are not “owed anything”, a lifestyle of appreciation and thankfulness will follow.

Children who are truly appreciative and thankful are rarely bored.

Patrick Donohue is a Life Coach in Oak Park, IL.  Contact him at

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