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Gratitude Through Generations

How does gratitude change with age?

Photo of Fatma Alshaiba
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We're first taught to express gratitude when we're just children. This is because our parents drill it into our heads. "Always say thank you," they would say, and in situations in which we'd forget, they'd ask "what do you say?" in the all too familiar firm tone that all kids are afraid of. In a moment of panic, we scramble through our thoughts for the phrase we're forgetting and quickly blurt out "thank you." As we get older, our parents stop reminding us. It would be interesting to research how gratitude changes over time, and whether children who showed more gratitude than others grow up to be more thankful adults. Does the act of expressing gratitude increase or decrease as we get older? Does it first increase and then gradually decrease as we pass a certain age and start to feel more superior to others? Would these results be consistent over different cultures? As children, we're usually thanking adults more than we are other children. As adults, are we more likely to thank people who are older than we are? I think the relationship of age and gratitude is a very interesting idea to research, and as expressing gratitude becomes so deeply rooted in our everyday lives, it's important to understand the relationship in order to instill good expressions of gratitude in future generations.

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Photo of Lauren Ito

Hi Fatma Alshaiba ,

Great to have you in the challenge, and diving into such an important topic. Thank you for sharing your story and provocations! I'm wondering, how do you feel gratitude could be upheld into adulthood? Can you think of any initiatives that could be implemented in a workplace to activate gratitude?

Looking forward to learning more!