Every day is a day to be thankful, but November and the Thanksgiving holiday is the perfect time of the year to focus on gratitude. I personally try to do this every day, and as a mama of three, that practice naturally spills over onto my kids. I know that I am doing a good job when my son thanks me for doing all the little things I do for him without being prompted, or my girls say “thank you” when at a friend’s house without being reminded. As much as I succeed though, I find there are still plenty of times when my kids get lost in how much they have (a beautiful home, dance lessons, an abundance of food and clothing, to name a few), and could use a reminder of how grateful they should be for all that they have. It is easy to take the wealth in our lives for granted, so I set up a few practices in my family to ensure we are expressing our thanks daily. Try one or more of them with your family and keep the “thanks-giving” going all year-round.
Tape up a piece of butcher paper (a poster board, dry erase board, or chalkboard would work well too). Give each person in the family a different color marker or piece of chalk. Each day, have everyone write down one thing they are thankful for that day. At the end of the month, have each person read their entries (color coded) and appreciate the gratitude in their life.
Portion off a percentage of your child’s weekly allowance (if they don’t receive allowance, consider allocating a monthly amount for this exercise), and select one charity together as a family to donate to for the month. The family can brainstorm and research charities together. Great examples include Mercy for Animals, Farm Sanctuary, Vegan Outreach, and Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
Each night, have each person in the family dictate (while you write) or have each person write down one thing they are thankful for that day. On New Year’s Day, sit down and read the book together.
This is a great nightly ritual that can be part of your prayers, or as a reflective moment as you shut off the lights. I ask the kids, “What are you thankful for today?” The answers are always rewarding, and sometimes surprising, inspiring, and enlightening.
At dinner each night, my family goes around the table and shares their “highs” from the day (something that made them happy) and their “lows” (something that made them sad). It’s a great way to get kids in the habit of seeing the good in their day when they might have had some troubles too.
What are your favorite gratitude practices? Share them with the World of Vegan community on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. We’re grateful for you, and wish you a happy, healthy, and delicious vegan Thanksgiving!
Photo by Photocreo on Canva.com.