Today, the Acuff family will be writing thank you notes.

Why?

Because we’re an amazing family prone to doing beautiful family activities like this. We make a big bowl of popcorn, put on some positive music and then have a fancy gratitude party. We’ll probably put it on Instagram and then maybe pin it with a plucky headline like “7 ways to be grateful!”

Only, that’s not even a little true. I don’t like writing thank you notes. My kids don’t either.

I suppose there are some people out there who have naturally generous hearts. The minute they are given a gift they’ve already catalogued it and written a long, flowing thank you note. Probably in calligraphy.

I don’t personally feel that way. Life moves so quickly that I often fail to thank people along the way. I get selfish and distracted. I focus on me and miss the many wonderful things many wonderful people have done for me. I get lost in narcissism, receiving ten gifts at Christmas and writing 0 notes.

I’ve discovered something in the last few years. Gratitude is learned or lost.

As a parent you have this amazing window to teach your kids to be grateful. To get them to connect a gift they receive to gratitude they give. To strike down the roots of entitlement before they have a chance to dig too deep. Want a grateful 16 year old? Teach a 6 year old gratitude and give him 10 years to practice.

Don’t miss this moment. If you’ve got kids, have them write a few thank you notes. If you don’t, write some yourself.

I don’t like doing it. I’m not going to pretend gratitude flows naturally from my heart like some deep well. It doesn’t. It takes practice for me. Selfishness comes easily, gratitude takes practice.

Practice today.