Be GLAD for Kids

GLAD is an acronym that encompasses some of the basic tenets of a happy and successful life. The acronym stands for

  • Gratitude
  • Leadership
  • Attitude & Aptitude
  • Drive

Purpose: To provide a system to help parents and role models teach, share, and discuss the basic tenets of human values in a positive and structured way.

Background: We have an 8 year old son that we raise in a structured, loving, educational environment.  He has two cousins, a 14 year old boy and 12 year old girl, that are not raised in such a fortunate environment, so we enjoy them spending the summer and holidays with us to provide them a short term opportunity of experiencing a positive environment.  They have been spending time with us for years.

Be GLAD was developed after it became apparent that some of the “common sense” values of a successful person were not being taught to my nephew, who again is 14. After continuously coaching him on life and responsibilities, it became frustrating to us because we felt that our coaching was not having a reasonable impact on his own decision making for his personal success. He seemed to feel entitled to the activities, exhibited poor sportsmanship, lacked respect to his elders and seemed to have no drive even though his living environment will require abnormal drive to break out of the poor, low education, low expectation environment that he and his sister reside within (yeah, that’s another story).

After some research, it seemed that the “common” approach to address these concerns was to rationalize the behavior as that of an early teen.  However, I felt that there was more that could be done since we were all teens and had to make choices. So, exhibiting respect and gratitude was not an unreasonable expectation regardless of age or hormones.  I searched for training for youths on basic human values that contribute to one’s happiness and success. While there was a lot of random information, there was not a simple, basic lesson plan that taught the pillars, or some of them, of life.   Thus Be GLAD was created to be a simple approach to inspiring a conversation about some key values of life.

Interestingly, from conversations with other parents, they liked having a simple template to use to manage the discussions.  While there is not any new information for the parent, it was interesting that the kids felt they were being exposed to new information, especially when it came to expectations and applications.  It seems to be the paradox that we all assume everyone knows what we know because we know it. Be GLAD creates the open communication to ensure that we all know and expect similar things regarding basic value sets.

How to use: We decided to make this a family program, so everyone was involved, including kids, grandparents, etc. While the program was designed for a teen, we included our 8 year old and treated him with the same expectations.  Having the group participate created additional energy and dialogue that was fun and informative, especially when watching an 8 year old actually processing what it means to be a leader.

After explaining the purpose of the program, we had 30 minute discussion sessions on each area of the system. Prior to the session, each kid was expected to have read and understood the training maps and be prepared to participate.  The discussions were interactive between the parent and the kids. These seemed to impactful and especially rewarding when you see the behavior exhibited from the lesson. Also, during the evenings, we would have discussions on who applied the lessons and how. A few days later, there would be a basic test on an area to reinforce the information.

The following are the maps used for the GLAD training. The PDF versions are available for download at the bottom of this page.


This is the poster version to be used for reference and reminders of GLAD.


This is the training map for Gratitude.

This is the training map for Leadership.

This is the training map for Attitude and Aptitude.

This is the training map for Drive..

The following are PDF of the training maps that can be downloaded.

Be GLAD Poster
Overview of Be GLAD for quick reference.
Be_GLAD Poster.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 185.1 KB
Be_GLAD G=Gratitude.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 218.1 KB
Adobe Acrobat Document 74.9 KB
Attitude and Aptitude
Adobe Acrobat Document 66.2 KB
Adobe Acrobat Document 70.5 KB

The following are PDFs of the testing maps that can be downloaded.

Be GLAD Testing Maps
These maps can be used to reinforce the training. They are designed to be simple while giving the child a reason to review the training information.
Adobe Acrobat Document 140.8 KB

These maps were made with Xmind (, which is a freemium mind mapping product. If you would like the original files, just email and I can provide.

I would appreciate any feedback or experiences you have with this information. It was intentionally kept simple and basic to try to keep the kids attention. While some of it may not be absolutely accurate, the point is to drive the conversation to establish verbal expectations.



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