As preparations rev up for Thanksgiving, many of us either travel to see
loved ones or welcome them into our homes.
Kids are masterful at zeroing in on what they donít have and what they
think they have to get. Thanksgiving is a good time to challenge that line
of thinking - to help them appreciate what they have rather than mourn
what they are missing. Since parents have been on the planet much longer,
you have a wider perspective than then children. This is a good time to
share your wisdom with your little ones.
Every household chore is an opportunity to serve as a reminder of appreciation.
While washing the dishes, focus on gratitude for the meal just eaten, the
family members with whom we shared it, and the kitchen in which it was
prepared. While making the bed, be grateful for the bed itself. Doing the
laundry makes me think about having a selection of clothes to clean, as
well as the family members who wear each item. Children will not necessarily
see these connections; it is up to us to point them out.
There are so many different ways that we can share our thoughts on this
topic with our children. Here is one of them:
As the family sits down to a meal together, start with one member and go
around the table. Everyone takes a turn to mention something for which
she or he is grateful. How many times can you go around the table? The
children will delight in hearing that they are on your list!
Childrenís contributions to others, either in person or through an organized
fundraising effort, can help them adjust their view so that it includes
people beside themselves.
Try this magic fairy approach. Your magic wand touches one possession after
another. As it does, your child has to imagine that the object disappears
from her life, never to return. What would that be like? Perhaps it will
inspire a renewed appreciation for what she has.
Happy Thanksgiving to all.
This column has been incorporated and expanded in Teach Your Children
Well: A Teacherís Advice for Parents.