How can I teach my child to be thankful. Thirsties Blog

In approximately three sleeps we’ll all be gathered around a table filled with food, family and friends. It’s a day to give thanks, to reflect on the past year and all that we’ve been given. I don’t know about you but it’s been present on my heart this season that I have so much while there are others who have so little. And it’s not just in the US, although, believe me there are plenty of families who will not be centered around a table in a nice cozy home on Thursday. The US is the top 1% of wealth in comparison to the rest of the world. At times, we may not feel like we have enough but this fact is a sobering one.

Last week I was shopping in our local superstore with my kids. My son, Brennan, had just celebrated his fifth birthday so it’s not like he was lacking in the gift department. Plus, that upcoming weekend was his friend birthday party so even more gifts were coming his way. He noticed the Disney Planes DVD displayed conveniently by the check-outs. He asked if he could go and look at them and if you’ve ever been shopping with a young child you know where this is heading. In my moment of weakness, trying to avoid a kicking and screaming exit from the store, I allowed him to look at the display. Sure enough, looking turned into wanting and we had a meltdown in the car about needing and wanting the DVD.

Perplexed by his sudden greedy streak, I consulted my wise mother and she suggested that we talk about children in other countries who have little to nothing. As a family we happen to sponsor two children through a non-profit Christian organization. I went on YouTube, found videos from the organization and we spent the good part of an hour watching the videos. It was amazing to watch the light bulb go off in his eyes when he realized how much he had and how little our sponsor child, who lives in the Philippines, has. It also helped that we had received a letter from our sponsor child in the mail the day before.

That night, my son explained to my husband that there were some children who lived in Africa who had to walk to get their water and even when they got it, the water was so dirty that it made them sick. Then, we wrote our sponsor child a letter, colored pictures for him and sent him updated pictures of us.

Now, this isn’t to say that the little greedies doesn’t ever come over my child since that day, however, it has made it easier to remind him of all that he has. So this Thursday, as you’re sitting down to feast on Thanksgiving goodies, both sweet and savory, think of how you can teach your child to be thankful for all that he has. Of course, keep in mind your child’s age and development. My two-year-old daughter learned nothing from watching the videos but that doesn’t mean I can teach her how to say thank you and share her toys.
They’re little but you’d be surprised by the level of understanding that a child has and the compassion that is innately present in them.