Family,  Parenting Tips

Being Grateful and Thankful for the Life We Live

Thanksgiving has become one of those holidays that is there but doesn’t have as much hype as Christmas does. We spend ONE day out of the year being thankful.

Why is that?

It has been a question at the back of my mind for too long now. One I have found many answers to but not satisfied with the end result.

While everyone learned the story behind Thanksgiving and why we celebrate it, I think there is a much deeper meaning and message we should be showing our children.

Gratitude.

A virtue I haven’t seen taught or put into action as much in younger generations these days. There is this idea that we should always be “wanting more”. We should be fighting for more. Never settle.

“Sally has an iPad so Johnny should have one too. Paul gets money for his report card so Tim should too. Daniel gets five toys for Christmas so Tyler should get 5 presents too.”

This notion is set in a child’s mind at a young age if you aren’t careful. As they grow up, they will expect to get what they want. They will demand to get what they want and do nothing in return.

So what does this show? Where does that lead us?

Greed. Selfishness. Entitlement. Regret.

This cycle seems to have corrupted minds all around me at times. This idea that their lives are not what they want right now. That they NEED MORE to be happy in life. This can lead to a very unhappy life.

I can say that I have been guilty of this a few times in my life and really lost sight of what was TRULY important. It took some soul-searching, reflection, and changing my actions to really harness a more positive life.

Gratitude and Humility.

These virtues could never be more important to make habit everyday especially this time of year. We should be wanting our children to be grateful and humble all the time not just for Thanksgiving and Christmas. They should be at the very top of ALL of our virtues child or not. But they are also the most difficult to teach especially to younger children.

So how do we teach our kids?

First of all, we must understand fully what they mean.

  • Gratitude is when one is readily able to show their appreciation for someone or something and give back the kindness they had given/shown them.
  • Humility is when one views others above themselves.

Now that we understand what they mean, making a habit of these virtues is the next step in teaching our little ones. If we don’t make it a habit, our children will have no interest in mastering these morals.

Children learn best by seeing and doing.

  • Start by talking about what everyone is thankful for at the dinner table. It is the perfect time where you are all together and focused on one another. Do this every night or every meal you share together.
  • Decrease the amount of presents you give your children for birthdays and Christmas.
  • Encourage your children to work hard for what they want.
  • With the holidays ever so near, have your family volunteer at a local soup kitchen or make meals to bring to the homeless in your area.
  • Have your children help put together a care package for deployed military or bake goods for military families.

Here is a few great resources to help military members and their families:

https://soldiersangels.org/programs.html

https://www.operationgratitude.com

https://www.supportourtroops.org/care-packages

*Post Office offers Military Kits for shipping care packages to make it easier.

  • Volunteer at your local church (the church always has events going on that you can be apart of)
  • Have all of your children go through their toys and clothes and pick what they don’t play with or wear as much anymore. (Give them a goal to give away at least 2 toys and 2 pieces of clothing.)
  • Make homemade gifts for one another in the family.
  • Make homemade gifts for elderly in local nursing homes.
  • Put together gifts for homeless/orphaned children.

Here are some resources for helping children around the world:

https://www.samaritanspurse.org/operation-christmas-child/buildonline/

https://www.savethechildren.org/us/what-we-do/where-we-work/usa

https://www.compassion.com

  • Put together care packages for children and their families who are struggling in your local hospital.

These are all just some examples that you can get your whole family involved and make a habit to do together. There are so many opportunities you can all become a part of and to show your gratitude for this life you were given.

We live in a greedy world. A world where it is every man for himself. A world that has been divided.

It is time to show our younger generations that we should be grateful and thankful for what we have. Big and small. We should be thinking of others above our own needs and help one another.

I challenge all of you reading this to really reflect on your lives as a family and commit to giving back in a way this holiday.

I also encourage you to do things to make habit everyday so one day your children will make it a habit in their lives and their children’s.

“Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you’ll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you’ll find that you have more of it.” -Ralph Marston

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