Let’s reclaim “Thanksgiving” for it’s actual name. Let’s make ita holiday for Giving Thanks.
Giving thanks or offering gratitude may be one of the greatest practices we impart on our children. Not the “say thank you” version that trains our children for some outward societal politeness but rather the kind of gratitude that is deep and transformative.
At Golden Bridges School, we incorporate practices of gratitude throughout the day. The most routine is gratitude around our meals. We offer a verse or song of thanks to the earth, the plants, the sky, and the rain for bringing us the food we are about to eat and off we go. Other classes will start their morning with a more broad offering of gratitude. “I’m grateful that my soccer team won this weekend” or “I’m grateful my grandma came to visit” or “I’m grateful that we have a long weekend coming up”.
Practicing gratitude and having that tool accessible is one of the best forms of self-care. Helping our children to build this skill /practice early in life is a wonderful gift we can offer them. If we consider how overwhelmed we often get with work, relationships, world events, or just those persistent voices in our heads, pausing and offering gratitude can either momentarily divert one’s attention or, better yet, redirect our attention entirely.
My to-do list seems endless, my weekend is booked with kids activities, social engagements, and all of those ParentSquare emails! But I pause. I take a deep breath. I put my hand over my heart. I offer thanks that I have such abundance - a roof over my head, an engaged family, friends with shared interests and values. And sometimes when there is violence and political unrest that concerns me, I offer thanks for the safety of my own family, for the individuals and organizations who are working to bring forth peace. And sometimes, when finding depth of gratitude is out of reach, I offer gratitude for the comfort of my couch and Netflix.
As we move into this upcoming holiday called Thanksgiving, let us consider bringing a practice of gratitude to the table. Many are gathering for a meal with friends and family, many of whom are coming to the table with different life circumstances, personal practices, values, and ways of expressing their feelings. Sharing gratitude is a wonderful addition to any Thanksgiving tradition. Here are some ideas of how to share gratitude together: