By Jenn Kelner, Aurora ON. What do you think of when you think of Thanksgiving? For children, it might be the thought of yummy turkey with all the fixin’s, delicious pumpkin pie with ice cream, and maybe even the dreadful thought of having to eat all their vegetables. For adults, it’s more than that. Perhaps it’s the thought of family, togetherness, and of course gratitude.
As parents, we are always trying to find the lessons in each moment that life presents us with, and at Thanksgiving, that lesson is to be thankful. We all want to teach our children to say please and thank you at every opportunity, and we remind our children that at Thanksgiving those words are especially important. It’s not just about the turkey!
This year, my family and I spent Thanksgiving dinner at my parents’ house. On the way there, I reminded my daughter to say thank you to Nana for cooking what was an absolutely delicious meal. As soon as we sat down at the table, Lily blurted out a great big thank you to Nana, with a big hug and a kiss. After she did this, her face was glowing with happiness. It was at that moment I was reminded why Thanksgiving is one of my favourite holidays. Expressing gratitude creates an incredible sense of happiness, and that happiness can spread like wild fire around a table. When my twin boys saw their sister with a great big smile on her face, their faces beamed with smiles as well, and of course the adults followed suit.
This moment kick started a great family Thanksgiving. Everyone was happy enjoying the copious amounts of food on their plates, and of course enjoying each other’s company. Then came game time! Lily always looks forward to playing games at Nana’s house so as soon as she finished eating she was begging to play a game. This time, the game of choice was “Telephone”. Nana started by whispering a phrase, so that Lily would be the one at the end to shout out what she heard. Once the phrase had made its way around the table, it was a bit distorted. Lily didn’t understand what she had heard so she decided to make up her own phrase to shout out. When the time came she sat up straight and announced, “I love everyone sitting at the table!” Indeed a better phrase than the one Nana had come up with.
I sometimes forget that children can teach us lessons too! Lily taught me that saying thank you and expressing some love can go along way. Now when I think of Thanksgiving, I think of smiles as well. Okay, I also think of sleepy children thanks to the tryptophan in the turkey!