Being thankful is always in season. It’s not just for Thanksgiving.
In November, my students’ homework writing journal includes daily entries
that begin, “I am thankful
for....” This is as good a time as any to help your
children reflect on something
for which they, too, are grateful.
Taking time to talk as a family about your gratitude can lead you to realize
that you can leave your
personal comfort zone to take up a cause to help other
My students were touched by an appeal from the Junior Girl Scout troop
at our school. The Scouts
were collecting clothing and toys to send to people
who had been devastated
by Hurricane Mitch in Central America. It made a
big impression on my six-year-olds
that so many children had lost everything they
owned. “Even their toys?”
one child asked.
With the coming of World AIDS Day on the first of December, we collect
pennies to contribute to
the AIDS Emergency Fund. We also take the opportunity
to count and wrap the pennies
before we hand them over. At first the kids
thought that a few pennies
here and there didn’t mean very much. But after a
few weeks, the jar is so
heavy that nobody in the class could pick it up. It’s a
visible lesson that shows
the meaning of collective power.
Perhaps a discussion with your own family can lead to a cause toward
which you would like to
lend a hand. Whatever the cause, it is important for
children to widen their
world view by seeing that they can do something to
make life more comfortable
for others. More importantly, it enhances children’s
feelings of self-worth.
Children feel good about themselves when they have
We have a choice about how we look at our lives. I choose to focus on
what I have, as opposed
to what I want. When we think about what we have,
we always have enough. When
we think about what we want, we never have
This column has been incorporated and expanded in Teach Your Children
Well: A Teacher’s Advice for Parents.