My daughter recently wrote a letter about thankfulness for our e-mail subscribers, and we wanted to share it here as well.
"I recently wrote pages of things I was thankful for because I realized I was slipping into a skewed view of life. Most of my focus was centering on areas I messed up in, and the things I wasn't doing well.
Over the years, I have seen many of my peers grow up dissatisfied with the education or experiences they received because they have focused on the wrong things.
It’s easy to do. We forget and are jealous and insecure about our and other people's education or lifestyle. But one thing I truly believe is that I had the best education ever. Not because it was always perfect, and not because there aren’t things I missed, but because it was genuine.
It was unique, and thanks to my mom it was genius and motivating and outdoorsy and beautiful. I had a good education. But here’s the second thing that made it great; thankfulness.
I recently read Viktor Frankl’s “Man in Search of Meaning’ and he talks about how in the concentration camps, the men he was with, dying men, would leave what little warmth they had to watch a beautiful sunset. They displayed what Frankl calls the greatest human freedom, which is our freedom to choose our response to life.
You and I get to choose our response to circumstances in life. And when I am thankful for my education I am also able to take full advantage of every bit of it.
Thankfulness started early, with my parents gently and lovingly equipping me to deal with a world that sometimes hurt, with people who don’t always love themselves like they should, and with way too much advertising and competition trying to tell me that I am not enough.
So, we read books about thankful people like Mother Teresa, Amy Carmichael, the Arnold Pent Family, Rani Snell, and Corrie Ten Boom. We would go around the dinner table sharing what we were thankful for. When we went tide pooling and watched hermit crabs molt, or grew gardens, or nature journaled, or sweat our way from historical monument to monument along the East Coast, we embraced the wonder of it and were thankful. And we continue to be mindful of when our hearts are thankful and when they are not. Thankfulness creates joy in us, and an ability to enjoy our life, no matter the circumstances." (Emelie Pepito)
This Thanksgiving season, we wish for each of you the ability to cultivate gratitude in yourselves and your children. As you prepare for the holidays, take the time to jot down your intentions for this season, and then create traditions that fit with the values of your own family. Perhaps even take time to interview your children about their own favorite holiday memories and then prioritize the activities you will participate in.
The holidays don't have to be characterized by exhaustion and disappointment. We can take the time to create our own traditions, and break free of expectations that don't reflect the gratitude and peace that we are working to cultivate.
If you are looking for creative activities to build more connection in your family, check out The Playful Pioneers and The Peaceful Preschool. Each parent guide is full of weekly lesson plans for literature based learning, using lovely books that encourage gratitude. You can take 20% off your purchase until November 26, 2017 with code "Thankful"
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