Teaching Gratefulness

1115jcckiddishTeaching gratefulness is not a new concept. References to gratefulness abound in Pirke Avot. “Who is rich? Those who rejoice in their own portion” – Pirke Avot 4:1.

In this day and age of material treats,  gratitude is more important than ever. A field of research demonstrates benefits to kids who literally count their blessings.

Making a Grateful Board

“Part of our Thanksgiving tradition is to fill our grateful board,” says Kim, mother of three. “Each November, we bring out a corkboard, covered in rustic burlap with ribbons and such, and each day all of us cut out a shape (I like hearts) and write one thing we are grateful for. Some are big items, others small. By the end of the month we have a truly festive and meaningful decoration. It is fun to read previous years writings as well.”

Volunteering 

Few experiences mean more than volunteering as a family. “It’s been such a blessing,” suggests Jamie Evans, who volunteers with her husband and two sons, “Not just for the organization and people we are supporting, but for us as a family. Children watch everything you do. By giving back to the community, you show them firsthand how volunteering makes a difference and how good it feels to help other people and enact change.”

Discussing
Political Issues

“I help my son be aware of what’s good in his life by discussing political issues with him,” says Julie, mom to an 11-year-old. He’s helped me decide who to vote for in two presidential elections, even drawing pro’s and cons. He’s really had to weigh what is important.

Don’t forget to share your own gratefulness. Like all lessons for our kids, modeling makes the strongest mark. By making gratefulness a part of your daily life, it becomes a part of your kids’ daily lives.  _

Lisa Monette, lisam@jccoc.org, has worked with children for over 15 years, she is the Director of the Sheila and Eric Samson Family Early Childhood Center at the Merage JCC.

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