Putting "Thanks" in Thanksgiving

One of my coworkers, Robert Greenlaw, wrote this article for Thanksgiving. It offers some fun and memorable ways to help young people develop an attitude of gratitude! Here is the message:

A friend of mine who used to work with the Office of Juvenile Affairs said there was one character quality he found lacking in every delinquent youth he met—a lack of gratitude. He said they all felt entitled to something more, something better, and they never showed appreciation for what they had.

Image of a delicious Thanksgiving mealI've thought about that many times since. How easy it is to slip into a habit of seeing what I don't have instead of being grateful for what I do have. Unfortunately, this leads to frustration and disappointment, which spoils our outlook on life and sours our relationships with friends, family members, and colleagues.

As we approach this Thanksgiving holiday, remember the importance of having a grateful heart and look for ways to cultivate that mindset in your home. Here are some specific ways our family plans to make this Thanksgiving a special occasion.

1. Remind. At their lowest point, the Pilgrims who came to America were so depleted of supplies that their daily rations were reduced to five kernels of corn apiece. So at the beginning of our Thanksgiving meal, we plan to put five kernels of corn on everyone's plate to remind us of what the Pilgrims' endured. Then we'll give thanks for the abundance we're about to enjoy.

2. Re-enact. I have fond childhood memories re-enacting The First Thanksgiving with siblings and cousins. Since we'll have lots of kids at our house this year, a re-enactment would be fun and memorable for everyone.

3. Reflect. At some point during the festivities, we plan to gather for a few minutes to let everyone—including the little ones—share specific things they're grateful for. It doesn't have to be formal or fancy, but such a special holiday deserves a few minutes of reflection. After all, that's what Thanksgiving is all about!

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