By: Amy Waters, School Liaison
Definition of gratitude in English:
Noun – The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
From the Oxford English Dictionary Online
This Thanksgiving is going to be a simple one at our house. Work and distance mean that our adult children won’t be here and we won’t be traveling. But that’s okay. As a parent of adult children I look back, with gratitude, for the time I had my little ones at home. I feel grateful but I wonder, do they know how thankful I am for them?
I tried to teach my children to say thank you by example, by saying thank you to others and by expressing my thanks to my children when they were helpful and kind. I wish, though, that I had been more specific.
“Thank you” followed by an acknowledgement of a specific act or a quality that is unique to each child reinforces the fact that who they are is what makes us appreciate them, not just what they do. Then, they will start to think of themselves as kind and appreciative people.
When we ourselves are grateful, our children learn to appreciate the world around them, they learn to recognize a kindness shown to them, and they want to return that kindness.
- Thank those that provide food for you: at the grocery and at the table.
- Express appreciation for the world around you: the silly and the serious.
- Keep a “grateful” list: the big and the small, not just “things”.
- Share a meal with someone.
- Write a note of thanks or of appreciation.
An attitude of gratitude also means allowing yourself to be on the receiving end of giving. Sometimes the best gift is allowing someone to give to you. So, this Thanksgiving, offer thanks. And when someone thanks you, accept it as a gift, don’t brush it off. A warm “you’re welcome” can teach children that giving and receiving should both be done in a spirit of appreciation.
My children may live far away. But near or far, there are ways to show your appreciation for the special qualities in those you care about. Share a hug. Make a phone call or send a text. Place a note at the table or under the pillow of your loved ones. This year, I’ll write a note of thanks to my children, and when I tell them how thankful I am for them, I’ll be sure to be specific.
Thank you, for reading. Happy Thanksgiving!
Here are some books to read with your children that can help you start a conversation about appreciating the world around them: