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Teaching Gratitude

It’s Thanksgiving weekend in Ontario. I asked my almost-thirteen-year-old daughter what she is thankful for. Without thinking, she replied, “My phone, my books, shower water and shampoo, my bed, and my bedroom door.” Wow. Out of the mouths of tweens. Apparently I have some work to do! Time for some meaningful gratitude lectures.

Her younger brother, listening from the next room, shouted out some things that I found more pleasing than hers: “food, friends, education, sports, and Summer,” (Summer is our Labradoodle pup). 

After this conversation, I’m happy that I only have one twelve-year-old in the house. I’m also happy that my son’s teacher did some lessons on gratitude earlier in the week, so he had some “pleaser” answers ready for me.

As a family, we will take a some moments this weekend to stop and reflect about our lives, and all the things we appreciate. I want my children to be grateful for what we have — the little things, and the big things. 

Earlier this month, we donated our outgrown clothing, footwear, and toys to the Canadian Diabetes Association’s Clothesline. Each family member purged closets, shelves, and drawers to de-clutter and gather items to share with others. We felt very good about the net proceeds of our gently used items and clothing directly supporting world-leading diabetes research, education and advocacy. Not only will our donations help others, but the reusable items will be recycled. This will have a positive effect on our environment. More information about the CDA Clothesline pickup is here.

We took inventory of our bookshelves too, choosing books to donate to Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children. The Women’s Auxiliary, among many charitable endeavours, holds a book sale once a month, with proceeds going to equipment and other needs in the hospital. More information can be found here about how you can donate too.

Thanksgiving not just a time for gratitude; it is a reminder to spread kindness, to volunteer, and to share with others. I know that my daughter is compassionate, thoughtful, and empathetic. When I caught her off guard earlier about her thankfulness, she quipped back at me with sass. I suppose it’s her job to do that, considering her age. In spite of this, I have hopes for an engaging conversation over turkey dinner about how fortunate we are: we have family, friends, health, pets, education, and shelter, to name a few things. We do not live in deprivation, and we live in a peaceful country. 

I’d like my kids to realize that no matter what happens in life, there is always something to be thankful for, and it’s is not enough to reflect on this just once a year. 


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