A Thank-You Walk
''I'm worried that my four- and six-year-old will be spoiled. They have such a great life--plenty of love, food, toys and money. I want them to be thankful for what they have,'' Melinda said.
Melinda understood that helping her children cultivate an attitude of gratitude was important to her children's present and future happiness. Too many parenting magazines today feature advertisements with well-dressed children who appear bored and pouty, lacking excitement and engagement with life. Melinda didn't want that kind of person living in her house.
Expressing thanks and gratitude is a trait that leads to happiness, and we need to help our children learn how to give thanks. I mentioned to Melinda that I'd come across an idea that I hadn't personally used but sounded intriguing, a thank-you walk.
The suggestion for the walk was to take your children out and express thanks for items you come along in your journey. The adult models gratefulness and challenges the children to look at the world with eyes of thankfulness.
I thought this game could be particularly poignant on those grumpy days when appreciation has flown out the window. Get out on a walk and find it!
Melinda reported a few weeks later that her family had taken a Sunday afternoon thank-you walk. After the walk they came back home and drew pictures and recapped their thanks on a list that went on the refrigerator. Melinda shared the list with me.
We're thankful for…
- Our raincoats
- Our rain boots
- The sidewalk
- That our neighbor has pretty flowers in her yard
- That trees have leaves we can jump in
- That apples grow on trees
- That we can climb in trees in our backyard
- That we have arms and legs to climb
- That we have a cool fort in our backyard
- That we have a dog
- That we can walk to the park
- That we can meet grandma and grandpa at the park
- That grandma makes pies and always has ice cream
- That grandpa bought me a building kit
- That I have a shelf in my room for my building kits
- The sun
- My brother
- My mom and dad
Melinda was pleased how her boys joined in with enthusiasm in finding things for which to be thankful. An attitude of gratitude is worth cultivating. All you have to do is look around.
Next Week: Effective Skill Building
Kids Talk™ is a column dealing with early childhood development issues written by Maren Stark Schmidt. Mrs. Schmidt founded a Montessori school and holds a Masters of Education from Loyola College in Maryland.
She has over 25 years experience working with young children and holds teaching credentials from the Association Montessori Internationale. She is also Creative Director for a video-based reading series for children ages three to six, The Shining Light Reading Series. Contact her via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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