An Attitude of Gratitude

November 18, 2011 at 16:36 | Posted in ALEX Toys, Blogs, Family Time, Holidays, Mamma Mia Rea | Leave a comment
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I hate to say it, but the way we celebrate Thanksgiving is not exactly conducive to cultivating gratitude in our children. We buy lots of food, maybe even some new clothes, stuff our faces and then camp out in front of the TV to digest and yell at the Giants to get the ball to the end zone. Where exactly is the “Thanks” in Thanksgiving?

Many children learn the story in school about the first Thanksgiving in this country, a shared meal between the pilgrims and the Native Americans to express their gratitude for the bountiful food they’d harvested together. These days, we don’t do much harvesting, but we can certainly take this holiday as an opportunity to plant the spirit of the holiday in our children.

One of the best ways to help children appreciate what they have is to expose them to those who have not. Plenty of children just like them are without toys, warm clothes and good food to eat. Instead of throwing out leftovers, pack them up with your kids and bring them to a women and children’s shelter. You can even have your child help you make extra food beforehand to bring along. In this country of excess, children learn to appreciate what they have by giving, not by getting. I promise you that giving them opportunities to give will make an indelble imprint on their character.

But why should gratitude be reserved for just this time of year? Appreciation can be expressed any time, and it starts with parents. Take time to verbalize your appreciation for what you have and the many blessings in your life within earshot of your children. Encourage them to think of the things they have to be grateful for. They’ll be surprised at how many they can think of.

By raising grateful children, you’ll have much to be thankful for.

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