I think most people do this more than we might care to admit. Even those of us who try to be conscious about not doing things of this nature can sometimes be found guilty. It’s hard not to. We get used to people always being there when we need them or always doing certain things either for us or that need to get done. We forget to thank them for the everyday tasks at least every so often. It’s one thing to consciously think about the things and people for whom we are grateful, but it’s another to express those thoughts to them.
Unfortunately, it’s usually the people we care about the most whom we end up taking for granted. And it isn’t until they either walk away or stop doing the things we are used to them doing that we realize how important those things are and that person really is to us. It shouldn’t be that way. It is easy to slip into a situation where we feel we are being taken for granted. Likewise, if the other person allows it, it’s equally as easy to do it to them. It’s something that takes conscious effort and being able to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. If you’ve ever been taken for granted, you know how that feels, and you shouldn’t want others whom you care about to experience that feeling. We also need to make it clear to others that we will not allow ourselves to be taken for granted, even if it means having to make some changes including walking away in order to get the point across.
I think this is one of those things that you can talk about all you want, but unless you model it for your kids, they will not learn to really appreciate those whom they would normally take for granted. Kids do typically think the world revolves around them, and they assume someone else will always pick up their stuff that they leave laying around, be available for a ride whenever they might need one, pay for whatever they need, and take care of all of their other basic needs. Not only do we need to teach them to be accountable and responsible for certain things at certain ages and appreciate what they have and what we and others do for them by modeling that ourselves, but we need to not allow them to always take us for granted so they understand that they can’t do that the rest of their lives. There’s a fine line between meeting their needs and showing them that life is all about give and take, so setting limits and boundaries and making reasonable expectations clear to them is important. And having them experience things that they take for granted being taken away on occasion doesn’t hurt, either. These things all help prevent “learned helplessness” from setting in.
With my kids, even though I try to do these things, it’s still an uphill battle, but that’s partly because my husband and I are not on the same page when it comes to things like this. He often puts his own needs first and expects that others will come to his rescue when he has dropped the ball on something, and he’s not exactly great at showing appreciation in any way, shape, or form. He’s not been supportive in helping the kids be appreciative for all that I do for them, which has made it harder to do that for him as the years have gone by. Like I said, it’s hard to teach them without it being modeled for them. Actions always speak louder than words.
So my advice for the day is …