Coaching & Promoting a Grateful Heart in Our Youth

judon-and-coach-pete-final-dayIn preparation for Thanksgiving, I wanted to focus this week’s blog on Gratitude and Appreciation.

The ability to express genuine gratitude and appreciation for others has been proven to enhance one’s contentment and outlook on life. But how can we as coaches help to “coach up” these character values in our youth through the vehicle of sports?

Acting with deliberate intent and purpose is the undergirding principle in my book: Character Loves Company-Defining the “Teachable Moments” in Sports: A Guidebook to Character Literacy Development. As coaches, parents, and role models, we need to make character development a priority.

Gratitude and Appreciation are character values #4 and #5 in my book (pp. 85-95), and I share real-life examples of how we can better promote these life-changing values in our children. In discussing appreciation:

“This building block [appreciation] is very similar to the previous building block on gratitude. Though they have overlapping attributes, gratitude is primarily focused on what you have received from others, while this current character value [appreciation] is most concerned with realizing the innate interconnectedness and interdependence with others. The cultivation of this quality of care and concern for our fellow mankind creates empathy, awareness, and an increased sense of the importance of community” (p. 91).

On this Thanksgiving holiday, let’s all take some time to reflect on the many mentors who helped guide and develop us throughout our lives. I challenge each one of you to reach out to a strong mentor from your past via phone, email, or a handwritten letter to give thanks for the role they have played in your development. I bet you will make their day!

If you would like to find out how you can help spread the positive message of my guidebook, or contribute to Character Loves Company, click here.


Meet the Author

Pete Paciorek
2 comments… add one
  • John Paciorek Nov 22, 2016, 7:14 am

    Great reinforcement to what you’ve already begun. Keep the “Tsunami”-momentum going!

  • Bill Shumard Nov 22, 2016, 8:44 am

    Thanks, Peter, you are spot-on here. ALL of our lives become more balanced and centered when we give thanks for what we DO have, instead of focused on what we are lacking. As adult leaders, we have the responsibility of not just talking about this, but modeling it. As an executive in the Special Olympics movement, I’m constantly reminded by the shining example of our athletes what real gratitude looks like…let’s all strive to be better role models!

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