Family Matters: We all should give thanks every day
Thanksgiving is a special time of year when we pause to give thanks for our loved ones, and for all that we share together.
Many families travel for miles to gather together. Those who are fortunate enough to share the day enjoy feel-good food, fond memories, and long-standing family traditions. Others, however, are not as fortunate to be with their loved ones, perhaps due to poor health, strained finances, long-standing family feuds, or because they are defending our country, so that we may give thanks in peace. I count my blessings when I gather with my family.
As I grew up, our Thanksgiving traditions included watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade while sitting beside a blazing fire with my sister. My dad kept the fire burning throughout the day as we helped our mom prepare favorite foods. We welcomed guests and enjoyed the traditional Thanksgiving football game on television by the fireside.
Years later, I was fortunate enough to take my own children to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. We watched towering balloons pass by as we peered down from a tall Manhattan skyscraper. As my children grew older, we cheered for my son, who played football on Thanksgiving Day, and followed with a feast at home by a warm fire. I am so thankful for all of those memories, and we reflect often, continuing to enjoy those “good old days” together.
Through the years I have learned that it is all of those wonderful moments which have made my life so full. Thankfully, my children have grown with gratitude as well.
Perhaps this is the year to begin a new family tradition of giving thanks, every single day. Why wait for New Year’s Eve to make a resolution? Look around today to find all of the things which make your life full. Teach your children to be grateful for everything, including colorful changing leaves, a sunny day, a warm coat or a soft bed topped with warm blankets and stuffed animals. Let your children hear you say, “I am so thankful to be inside our warm house when it’s cold outside!”
Make the effort to notice the small things, and compliment your children for their positive behaviors you see throughout each day. When you prepare a favorite meal, let someone know you did it for them. Ask everyone at the table to share a handful of things for which they are grateful. Initially, they may express gratitude for toys or electronics, but over time they will learn that the most important things can’t be bought.
So many children (and adults) move through every day from start to finish without realizing, acknowledging or being grateful for all of the wonderful things which have happened. An attitude of gratitude doesn’t always come naturally, so welcome each new day as an opportunity to teach your children how to be happy and grateful for all that they have.
Giving thanks throughout each day offers us the opportunity to appreciate all the little things in life which make life worth living. Here’s to Thanksgiving, every day.
Diana Boggia, M.Ed., is a parenting coach. She is author of “Parenting with a Purpose.” Send your child-rearing questions to FamilyMatters@cantonrep.com or The Repository, c/o Family Matters, 500 Market Ave. S, Canton OH 44702. Find parenting resources at her website, www.yourperfectchild.com.