Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I love the fact that we’re celebrating gratitude. It is a time for friends and families to gather together, have good conversation, eat, and reflect upon why they are grateful. Our reflection on gratefulness shouldn’t occur only once a year we should be thinking about how grateful we are every day. It is important that as parents we try to instill an attitude of gratefulness in our children. In this day and age I’m incredibly surprised at how our society feels so entitled, especially our children. Just go into any toy store and you are sure to hear tantrums going on in the aisles. Now, I know children are children and it’s hard for them to grasp the concept that they can’t have everything they want. Heck, it is hard for some adults to grasp that concept. But, it is our responsibility to teach our children about being grateful and the duty we have to give unto others.
Jesus was the most giving person who ever lived. He gave his life to die for our sins. Of course none of us could ever out give Jesus, but wouldn’t be nice if we can teach our children how to at least try to imitate that loving kindness that Jesus so unselfishly dispersed among his children. This season make the holidays memorable for your children by giving them the opportunity to give of themselves. Here are some projects that are great for all ages.
Offer a Helping Hand
Do you know of an elderly person who needs assistance? A neighbor whose yard needs racking? Have your children offer a helping hand, whether it is for someone outside of the family or for a family member. This goes beyond chores, what you want them to do is to thoughtfully help someone in need. Maybe it is grandma who needs help cleaning out her basement, or dad who needs help with a household project, the idea is for them to give their time.
Volunteer at a Shelter
If your children are of age, sign the whole family up for a day of service at a shelter. This is a wonderful way for your children to understand how grateful they should be. If your kids are too young, then let them help you collect canned goods to a food bank. Make sure they are involved in the whole process, the collection and the delivery.
Get the whole family involved in cleaning out their closets and gathering all those gently worn clothes they don’t wear anymore, or toys they don’t play with and donate them to a charity, church, or shelter.
Write Grateful Cards
Cards aren’t just for Christmas and birthdays. Have your kids create a list of all the important people in their life (family, friends, teachers, coaches, etc.) then have them write a note to them expressing why they are grateful to have them in their life. I am particularly fond of this activity because writing personal letters have become a lost art. Everyone uses technology, which is fine but how nice is it to receive a handwritten note that you can cherish. Writing notes also gives your children a chance to thoughtfully reflect on why this person is important to them and how grateful they are for their presence in their life. If you have little ones let them draw a picture that expresses their gratitude it will be priceless to the person on the receiving end.
Participate in Fundraisers
I notice an increase in the number of walking fundraisers during this time of year. Check the Internet for walking fundraisers in your area and sign up the whole family. This provides great bonding time while participating in a worthwhile cause.
The activities are limitless! Also don’t reserve saying what you are grateful for only on Thanksgiving day, why not implement this at the dinner table during the whole month of November. Each family member can say something they are grateful for. This season encourage your family to focus on their blessings and to be a blessing to others.