The Moore American

May 1, 2013

Making children show appreciation is important

The Moore American

MOORE — Q: I’ve noticed that teenagers these days typically don’t show appreciation for just about anything. How does a parent (me) teach an elementary-aged child to show gratitude where it will stick with them for life?

— Mrs. W, OKC

Dear Mrs. W.,

We couldn’t agree with you more. As we mentioned in our column on manners a few weeks ago, we know showing gratitude is a necessity. It’s an ongoing task to teach children, or anybody, the right thing to do.

Don’t be afraid to ask your child, “Did you say thank you when a thank you is called for?”

Model this behavior for your children. They need to see it in action. Perhaps explaining to them and helping them understand how good it makes the other person feel when told thank you is a good place to start.

Manners have to begin in the home. If you feel you aren’t being shown gratitude for something you specifically are doing for them, then possibly refrain from doing whatever it is for which you aren’t being thanked.

Children need to see what it’s like to go without so they can learn to appreciate what is done or provided for them.

As far as showing gratitude to others, kids are never too young to print or write a simple thank you note or make a brief phone call. Don’t give up the battle. It’s well worth winning.

Q: My son has been told by his counselor that even though his grades are good, he needs activities and volunteer work to put on college applications. What kinds of activities do colleges want? Wouldn’t it be better for him to have a job and earn some money?

— Sabrina, Norman

Dear Sabrina,

We do believe kids need to work — especially if they have a car. Upkeep is expensive, and kids need to know what it takes to keep a car on the road.

Extra-curricular school activities are extremely important when it comes to college applications. Everything from National Honor Society and Student Council to Spanish Club or being involved in sports are great school activities.

If several have the same GPA and ACT scores, colleges will look for something to set the applicants apart from the others.

Volunteering in the community also is something all students should do. This can include animal rescue, shelving books at the library, nursing homes, Habitat for Humanity, food kitchens, etc., and are all ways to volunteer.

Some high schools even offer a cord to wear at graduation for the student’s efforts. A website we found is

Be aware that some organizations want volunteers to be at least 18 for liability purposes. Even getting a signed letter from a neighbor saying they were helped with lawn work or painting, for example, would be a way to validate the number of volunteer (non-paid) hours.

Our kids will say differently, but there really are enough hours in a day to get it all done.

Send questions to Jeannie and Sally are certified school counselors with 49 years combined educational experience. Jeannie has two children, Sally three.