The Art of Being Grateful

The holidays have arrived, and one of my favorites is Thanksgiving. Those who know the history, know that Thanksgiving wasn’t necessary the most chipper of the holidays. But what it has become, I believe, is the reasons to celebrate it.

Thanksgiving is one time of year my family gets togethers to collectively work on making the most delicious meals, with the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special blasting in the background. To me, the holidays always scream two things: family and gratitude. I was always taught about family, the importance of family, but I feel the more important part is being grateful.

Around Thanksgiving time, teachers ask their students “what are you most thankful for?” In general, they are asking what the student is grateful for. When I was asked this, I remember always saying my family, and something silly like my Barbies. But as I have gotten older, my definition of being grateful changed.

But I think regardless of whether you celebrate the holiday or don’t, it is so important to teach the concept of “gratefulness” and what it means. To be grateful is to be wholeheartedly conscious of what you are given and be thankful for it. It is easy to say that you are grateful, but to understand what it is that you have is completely different.

Not just around the holiday time, but all the time, it is important to teach your child to be grateful for what they have. Keep in mind when they go to school, not all children come from the same background. Some families may not be able to have a full feast prepared, some families may not even have a hot Thanksgiving meal to eat, some families may have parents working on that day, and some families may not be all together or going through a loss.

Teach your child to be grateful for what they do have. Teach them that what they have other families may not, so they should be conscious about how they speak around their classmates. I remember when I was in class, and that year my parents were going through a rough time. My dad had just gotten laid off and we were having to cut back on our usual spending.

On that Thanksgiving, we didn’t get to have our usual famous lasagna dish. We did standard potatoes, and peas with rolls that we had in our pantry. We didn’t have to go get groceries. When I went back to school and kids were talking about Thanksgiving dinner. I was hearing about parties and lavish feasts with a lot of their family members. Initially, I felt bad because we didn’t do anything to that degree, but I still was happy to share my Thanksgiving night with what we had.

My parents always advised me to stay aware of everyone else and that I should be happy that I was able to have food on my table. That on its own made me feel the need to always give back during holiday season, because you never know what a family is going through. I think it is super important to teach that to your child. Make it a family tradition to do something for the community during the holiday season, whether it is to volunteer at the Salvation Army or donate your time to a local Soup Kitchen.

For this Thanksgiving I am going run a 5K for a charity, and I hope to donate some food for the canned food drive. I am blessed to have what I have, and so I believe this is the least I could do.

The best way to teach this to children is to put it into perspective. Let them know when they provide canned food, that each can would be food for someone to eat.  For example, just 1 can of corn might be someone’s dinner. Make it applicable to them so they understand what they have.

Being grateful pours into all aspects of life. It teaches humility, which I believe today’s society lacks. It also teaches respect. Being able to possess such qualities really adds into what would nurture a child to be grateful and not needy.

Thanksgiving is celebrating family and life. It celebrates the idea of being thankful for your life and all that is in it. Being grateful for your gifts, little or big blessings, down to the food on your plate. Be kind and be humble to each other and spread those qualities to one another.

I am grateful for every opportunity that I have been given to share my opinion,  for having this platform through Color me SAFE so I can make my voice heard about various topics and issues, and to my readers who continue to inspire me to write my blogs.

Please share your thoughts about gratitude, and those closest to you. Spread kindness and cheer to all those around you. Do keep in mind all aspects of life, and not everyone comes from the same background as you.

Additionally, give back when you can, because if you are able to give back it means you are helping your community grow.

Thank you all for being part of this beautiful community, and of course Happy Thanksgiving! Remember this, “giving for the sake of giving is CHARITY. And sharing because we have enough is HUMANITY.”