As Thanksgiving nears, I find myself searching for ways to teach my children to be grateful and thankful for what they have without resorting to the "some children go hungry" speeches of my childhood. I thought about what taught me gratitude and realised it was a double prong approach by my parents.
They showed us gratitude. They were thankful for what they had in their lives and did not waste time wishing for more. I lived what can only be described as a hardscrabble childhood until I was a tween. In that time, I watched my parents work hard for what they had and be thankful for the ability to do so.
My children and I enjoy a "softer" life. While I can and garden, my fully stocked pantry does not mean the inability to order out for pizza on occasion. So how do I show them to be grateful for what they have without experiencing struggle?
This year, w're going to pick names off Angel Trees, volunteer at a women's shelter, and take a hard look at what we want versus what we need, which is something we've been working on all year.
The other approach my parents too was to teach us things were less important than experiences. We didn't have a lot of toys and games, but we did have a lot of fun. By purging toys and clothes and by trading Christmas gifts for a family trip, I'm hoping to teach my kids what they get isn't as important.
It might take another decade or two to see if the lessons sink in, but it's worth a try. What do you do to teach gratitude?