To tell you the truth, it's not a holiday I care for much at all. Between the food, most of which appeals to me not at all, and memories of the women heading to the kitchen after a two stress-fraught days of cooking and an hour of gluttony for hours of hand washing and drying china, silver and crystal while the men retired to the rec room to watch football. Ugh. Give me crepes any day.
For my children, I want the holiday to be less about the cut glass relish trays of perfectly arranged olives, pickles, carrots and celery (though that is my favorite part of the meal), and more about feeling gratitude for the relative comfort and ease of our lives. It's not always easy, I know from personal moments of crankiness and general ungratefulness, and it's always easier to feel grateful for something when you know the experience of not having it (case in point: when I had four-day weekends every week I did not appreciate those days nearly as much as I did this past weekend's rare length now that I work full time). But of course I don't want my kids to go hungry or homeless in order to understand what they do have here. Nor do I want to burden them with the sorry state of the world...they're too young to curl up in the mental fetal position of despair that I feel much of the time.
I'm not sure how to really instill that sense of gratitude in them, other than doing my best to model it. We do take a moment before dinner each evening to "Thank the farmer, the gardener, the cook, mother Earth and father Sun" (and, occasionally, "Mother Hera and Father Zeus"). And each year on Thanksgiving Day, we write a small note about what we feel grateful about in a little journal I made.
It's a small gesture, no doubt, especially compared to all the suffering that many people in the world endure, and from which we have--by shear luck of birth--so far been spared. But it is a start.
How do you teach your children gratitude?
P.S. Don't forget about my blog anniversary giveaway...one more day to leave a comment!