Thanksgiving is all about thanking God for the gifts of life, love, joy, family, and friends. Thanksgiving remains a hard sell for children, though. No candy, no gifts, no surprises. Sure, you get pumpkin pie and a few days off school, but other than that, how can we show our children the importance of both Thanksgiving and giving thanks? By demonstrating gratitude.
We need to begin by making sure our children know the story of the first Thanksgiving. Children do not always hear the Thanksgiving story in school anymore, so it is important that you share it with them at home. Find a book or video that tells the story of the Pilgrims, the hard life they suffered in America, their friendships with the Wampanoag people, and how they set aside a day to thank God for his blessings. These people were truly survivors and demonstrated gratitude.
Gratitude can be demonstrated at mealtime in prayer or by going around the table and sharing what we are thankful for. Maybe you have a thankful tree, journal, shoebox, tablecloth, calendar, or space on the refrigerator. Here at Trinity, our character trait of the month is gratitude. You might be surprised. In a 2000 survey when children were asked what they were thankful for, the most common answers were family, basic needs, friends, and teachers/school. Maybe we’re already doing a pretty good job teaching our children about gratitude.
I am thankful to have served the Trinity community. I am thankful for family and friends. I am thankful for my health, and I am thankful for being surrounded by an amazing faculty and staff. Your children need to know what you are thankful for. I am certain your children will be at the top of this list. Encourage your children to express their thankfulness to God. Set aside time each day to pray and give thanks. Express thankfulness for the smell of flowers, for ripe bananas, and for warm pajamas.
Appreciating the abundance we have all around us is healthy. Be thankful for showing acceptance, integrity, and self-control. These are the gifts that are so important to a child's development and that a child will remember. Words of encouragement, a simple smile, or a gesture of listening.
We appreciate you and your positive influence. Thank you for answering the call to be a parent. Thank you for the enduring impression you have made in the lives you have touched by giving and inspiring in our great city of Galveston! Your contributions are immeasurable.
You improve our world and we “Thank You!”
With warm regards,
Mark J. Ravelli, Head of School