Hello all my dear readers! In the United States today we are celebrating Thanksgiving. This came across Marsha Johnson’s Waldorf Home Educators Yahoo!Group and I thought is was a nice thought for today.
Warm thoughts are flowing towards all of you, each and every precious one, who has chosen to come and be present in this group, on the earth, in your communities, in your families, in your own very self! This is the American Thanksgiving Holiday, a unique festival of gratitude for what has been given and what has been provided, roots deep in a religious tradition, yes, but one that has become a national holiday of harvest to a great degree, with the largest focus on family, food, and the gathering….in groups, as friends, as families, as communities, as humans.
The children are quite excited by all the to-do, with much cooking happening with traditional foods of roasted turkeys (a large fowl), harvest foods such as mashed potatoes & gravy, stuffing (a bready dressing with vegetables, fruits, more), a dish made with sweet potatoes, often, salads, baked desserts such as pumpkin pies served with whipped cream, often many other side dishes, appetizers, drinks, and so on.
It is a time that celebrates an event in our American history when the first immigrants came to the eastern shores and were essentially starving and the native people came with food to share. These foreigners were ill equipped to survive in the new country, nearly starving to death while surrounded by food sources well known to the native peoples, large beds of seafood practically swimming into your hands, native foods unknown to the Europeans such as corn, squash, and so on….
It is a celebration that has some rather bleak images for the native peoples here who subsequently lost their entire ‘country’ and most of their population due to strange imported diseases for which they had no resistance whatsoever….it was this generous provision of food which in some ways contributed directly to their own demise.
Can we be grateful in the moment, unaware of what is to come? Can we teach our children to experience and express thankfulness as a virtue? In today’s competitive world, is promoting this virtue a viable choice or is it perceived as some kind of weakness?
In the Waldorf Way, we are filled at every conscious moment with the love of the ‘other’, the ‘other’ who has come to be near us, with us, around us, befriend us, play with us, spend time with us…..we are so aware of the gift of the ‘other’, the children and their parents, who come willingly and whole hearted, to spend precious time in the school and in the classes, in conferences, and meetings….it is a gift to be together and I am acutely aware of each passing moment, now lost in time, that has been spent with me…
Teaching thankfulness is the job of the adult in all communities, taking time to pause and be very public about the grace that has fallen down upon us in each moment, we can express this for the child and of course, the feelings are present in the youngest child and we can provide a model for imitation, in our vocal quality, in our facial expressions, in our everyday ordinary moments…not just once a year.
Here is a list of potential words to begin to include in your speaking and in your conscious thinking, listen and see if your child(ren) will imitate you and use these, frequently…
Thank you so much.
Thank you so very much.
I am so thankful.
I am so thankful that you thought of me (us).
I am grateful.
I am so very grateful for your help (thought, intention, action).
I feel so grateful for you.
How sweet of you to remember me!
I appreciate that.
I appreciate you.
I appreciate what you have done.
I appreciate your help.
I appreciate your concern.
I appreciate your attitude (help, presence, questions, assistance).
Don’t we appreciate what you have done!
I am so pleased with you.
I am so happy with what you have done today.
I give thanks to you.
I give thanks to God for you.
I am so happy that you are here with me.
Isn’t it wonderful that “name” has helped us!
Those kinds of remarks can make a deep impression on the child and support the growth of gratitude as a virtue in a time when civility as a custom has been a bit replaced by sarcasm and cynicism
Grateful for your friendship,
Here is toward fostering gratitude in our children, in our homes, and appreciating every day what is right in front of us as opposed to waiting for the “If Onlys” of the future – “if only” I live somewhere else, “if only” our family had more income, “if only” this or “if only” that. Gratitude can start in the here and now.
Gratitude for today, gratitude for you!