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Most parents and child care-givers want their children to be “good people,” to care for others, and not to be too materialistic. The same qualities are good for societies – societies are better when the people who live in them are good to themselves and to others and don’t waste resources.
That’s what we’re trying to achieve – encouraging the development of positive characteristics, and trying to reduce materialistic values (people wanting more and more stuff, and just tossing out what they had before). Check out, for example, If kids won a million dollars…
How can we do that?
By encouraging the development of gratitude, and that’s what this site is all about.
What does it mean to be grateful?
Watch this video, to see a variety of ideas.
Berkeley’s Greater Good Magazine recently published a great article featuring our research about gratitude in different cultures.
It’s more than saying “thank you”
Though being polite is always good. Gratitude is not just about being happy for a gift or help received (although that’s nice), but about being happy about the person who provided that gift or help, and wanting to pay back that person in some way that will make him or her feel good. Gratitude in this sense is a way to build or strengthen connections among people.
We created a booklet for parents and teachers about gratitude.
Gratitude may also reduce materialistic values, by helping us to focus not on the gift we’ve just been given but on the person who gave us that gift. If we focus on the thing we’ve just been given, well, a new and improved version will soon be available, and so let’s hope for that one.
We will want more and more things and lack appreciation for what it took to get that thing or help (a parent working nights, a teacher taking extra time, a friend providing a helping hand).
If we focus as much on the people who gave us the gifts, or who helped us, we start thinking more about what we can do for them to thank them. Building or strengthening connections between people is sustainable—buying more and more and wasting more and more is not.
So let’s make a start by encouraging gratitude. This website is going to help us do that.