(Do you see? We have an apple fairy this year!)
Rudolph Steiner from "The Child's Changing Consciousness As the Basis of Pedagogical Practice" (Lectures from April, 1923) ...
"All that flows, with devotion and love, from a child's inner being toward whatever comes from the periphery through the parents (or other educators) - and everything expressed outwardly in the child's imitation - will be permeated with a natural mood of gratitude. We only have to act in ways that are worthy of the child's gratitude and it will flow toward us, especially during the first period of life."
On the contrary, an atmosphere of gratitude should grow naturally in children through merely witnessing the gratitude that their elders feel as they receive what is freely given by their fellow human beings, and in how they express gratitude.
In this situation, one would also cultivate the habit of feeling grateful by allowing the child to imitate what is done in the surroundings.
If a child says "thank you" very naturally - not in response to the urging of others, but simply by imitation - something has been done which will greatly benefit the child's whole life.
Out of this an all-embracing gratitude will develop towards the whole world."
It does not always need to be in one's consciousness, but may simply live in the background of the feeling life,
so that, at the end of a strenuous day, one can experience gratitude, for example, when entering a beautiful meadow full of flowers. Such a subconscious feeling of gratitude may arise in us whenever we look at nature. It may be felt every morning when the Sun rises, when beholding any of nature's phenomena."
"And if we only act properly in front of the children, a corresponding increase in gratitude will develop within them from all that comes to them from the people living around them, from the way the speak or smile, or the way such people treat them."
so deeply embodied in the inner being of the child - without as yet working outward -
this tender blossom will become firmly rooted through the development of gratitude."
One should realize that, just as one has to dig the roots of a plant into the soil in order to receive it's blossom later on, one also has to plant gratitude into the soul of the child, because it is the root of the love of God.
The love of God will develop out of universal gratitude, as the blossom develops from the root."
then out of this gratitude toward the world, toward the entire universe,
and also out of an inner thankfulness for being in this world at all
(which is something that should ensoul all people),
the most deep-seated and warmest piety will grow.
Not the kind that lives on one's lips or in thought only, but piety that will pervade the entire human being, that will be upright, honest, and true."
Blessings, love, peace and well wishes to all...