Yesterday morning my son’s kindergarten class celebrated Thanksgiving a week early, by reenacting the ceremonial feast between the Pilgrims and the Indians.
I, was fortunate enough to bear witness to this adorable little event where by which, the kids sat down for a historically accurate feast of goldfish and mini muffins followed by songs of turkey worship and thanks.
The kid’s electrifying performance of that old classic; I’m Thankful For My Friends At School most certainly warmed my heart, but it also got me thinking about gratitude and wondering just how thankful my 5 year old really is.
Like most parents, I have taught my children to say thank you and despite the fact that I have to remind them every so often, they have basically mastered that skill. But saying thank you is certainly not the same as being thankful and I am reminded of that reality every time my son thanks me for his iPad then immediately throws a temper tantrum because the WiFi is slow.
The dictionary defines the word gratitude as the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful. In terms of qualities that I wish for my children to possess, gratitude is definitely up there on my list. But the more I think about it, the more I wonder is it something that can be taught?
If gratitude is in fact a feeling, one would argue that it’s impossible to teach and perhaps true gratitude only comes with advanced age and experience.
So the question for today is: Can you really teach young children to be thankful and if so, how?