Cultivating Gratitude & Reverence In Children

Cultivate Mindfulness.

This page has several verses we used for Blessings and mealtime. But before I share those… some thoughts:

Cultivate Mindfulness.
See gratitude as a daily practice.
In pictures, words and songs,
let children express a grateful heart.

Gratitude & Reverence

Rudolf Steiner stated “If he sees that everyone who stands in some kind of relationship to him in the outer world shows gratitude for what he receives from this world; if, in confronting the outer world and wanting to imitate it, the child sees the kind of gestures that express gratitude, then a great deal is done towards establishing in him the right moral human attitude. Gratitude is what belongs to the first seven years of life.”

Steiner also wrote “If one observes children, who by a right upbringing, have developed a natural reverence for the grownups and their surroundings, and if one follows them through their various stages of life, one can discover that their feelings of reverence and devotion in childhood are gradually being transformed during the years leading to old age. A adults such persons may have a healing effect upon their fellow man so that by their mere presence, or through the tone of their voice, or perhaps by a single glance they can spread inner peace to others. Their presence can be a blessing because as children they have learned to venerate and to pray the right way. No hands can bless in old age, unless in childhood they have been folded in prayer.”

Of course, these qualities cannot be taught. They must be modeled by the adult and imitated by the young child. They must “live” within the parents.

(Source: Steiner Human Values & Education and The Renewal of Education)

Waldorf Teachers consider the Moral education of children to be one of their primary tasks. Gratitude, Love and Duty: Steiner asks that we sow the seeds and cultivate these three fundamental human virtues.

Children should say grace before each meal to express their reverence for the earth and her gifts….

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Gratitude is the basis for love. When children deepen their appreciation for the natural world, they deepen their love for all of creation.

A Child’s Book of Blessings

With blessings for everyday events from dawn until dusk, for special activities, and for specific times of the year, this exquisite collection offers children and their parents a simple and practical way of bringing a sense of the sacred into their lives. Olwyn Whelan’s beautiful and intricate illustrations enrich Sabrina Dearborn’s thoughtful and touching selection, making this a book that will become a keepsake for generations.

Blessings & Prayers

The earth is firm beneath my feet,
The sun shines bright above,
And here I stand – so straight and strong,
All things to know and love.

Two eyes to see with,
Two ears to hear with,
A mouth to speak with,
A mouth to eat with,
Two hands to work with,
Two hands to pray with.

Earth we thank you for this food,
For rest and home and all things good,
For wind and rain and sun above,
But most of all for those we love.

Thank you for the world so sweet,
Thank you for the food we eat;
Thank you for the birds that sing,
Thank you God for everything.

The sun in in my heart,
He warms me with his power,
And wakens life and love,
In bird and beast and flower.

Oh golden sun so great and bright,
Warms the world with all its might.
It makes the dark earth green and fair,
Attends each thing with ceaseless care.
It shines on blossom, stone and tree,
On bird and beast, on you and me.
Oh, may each deed throughout the day,
May everything we do and say,
Be bright and strong and true,
Oh, golden sun, like you!

Blessings on the blossom,
Blessings on the root,
Blessings on the leaf and stem,
Blessings on the fruit.

Blessing on this room of ours,
Blessing on the garden flowers,
Blessing on the birds and trees,
On the butterflies and bees.
Blessing on the dolls and toys,
On our quietness and noise.
Blessing on the children dear,
On the grown ups who come here.
Blessing on our work and play,
God be with us all each day.

I thank the earth beneath me
For there I stand and walk.
I thank the air around me
Which helps me breathe and talk.
I thank the sun so warm and bright
So far away in Heavens height
To keep me safe ’til morning light.

For the golden corn and the apples on the trees,
For the butter and the honey for our tea,
For fruits and nuts and berries that grow beside the way,
For birds and bees and flowers, we give our thanks today.
Blessings on our meal and our family.

Dear God, we thank you for the night,
And for the pleasant morning light,
For rest and food and loving care,
And all that makes the world so fair.
Help us to do the things we should,
To be kind to others and to be good
In all we do and in all we say
To grow more loving every day.

My deeds I will do
With my feet on the ground,
My head will direct them
That they may be sound.

Father sky who gives us light
And embraces all in sight
Mother earth who makes a home
For all who grow and roam
We thank you for your kindly gifts
The food, the air, the stone that sits,
Fires which warm our hearts each day,
And the rain in which we run and play.
Blessings! Blessings!
To all we love,
And blessings on our meal.

The eagle gives thanks for the mountains,
The fish gives thanks for the sea
We give our blessings for the food
We are about to receive.

Special Addition from our friend Rainbow at Live-Education who shares this: “I wrote a verse while a student at Emerson College, and I used it daily with my first class of students, from 6th to 8th grade.

As the light of the sun
Nourishes the earth
Life sprouts through the plant
Allowing us to transform
The earth’s breath of life
Into human deeds of light
Replenishing the source

When I shared that verse with my teacher, Mr. Edmunds, he told me, “My dear, you’ve finally put blood into your thinking!” That was over 25 years ago, and I still say that verse every day! (Thank you Rainbow, for sharing!)

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