This month, focus on helping your children count the things they can be thankful for. It IS the season!
Attitude of Gratitude
We live in a “me, me, me” society that makes it easy to get sucked into a black hole of thankless living, says Drew Leder, M.D., author of Games for the Soul: 40 Ways to Find Fun and Fulfillment in a Stressful World (Hyperion). Because of this, gratitude is counter cultural. For children to be grateful for what they have, parents need to begin instilling gratitude early — as soon as verbal interaction begins — and continually reinforce it throughout adolescence. This is an ongoing operation that requires constant support and encouragement.
The bottom line, Leder says: Our children learn from everything we say and do. If we cheat, they’ll cheat. If we lie, they’ll lie. If we complain about all the things that we don’t have and choose to ignore what we do, then so will our children. Ingratitude is contagious and we risk raising ungrateful children if we’re not careful.
— Susan Day
“I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and union.”
— Abraham Lincoln | Proclamation of Thanksgiving | October 3, 1863
Fun At Home! – A Balloon Parade
Well, these aren’t as gigantic as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons, but they’re balloons! The MyOwnPet Balloon line is an endearing assortment of 27 different animal balloons that you inflate with helium. The attached “leash” allows kids to walk their “pets”(they float in the air). When at rest, weighted feet keep the critters grounded. When the pet deflates, simply take it back to the store for a refill. Fun kid idea: hold your own parade!
Available for $13.99 at most area Kroger stores and hospitals, learn more at myownpetballoon.com.
Support Our Soldiers!
Being away from home during the holidays is hard on our dedicated service men and women as well as their families. Here are great ways to do something special for our troops this season.
Send a soldier a little piece of home by sponsoring an Operation USO Care Package. For $25, your personal message of support will accompany the package’s contents. Items needed include pre-paid phone cards, disposable cameras, toiletries, sunscreen and more. To sponsor a care package, call 877-USO-GIVE or visit usocares.org.
Families can send cards and letters to troops this season at this website. You can log on and donate money or get a list of recommended items to send in care packages. Costs vary, and all of the items, which are tax-deductible, can be purchased at the website or mailed to the company for distribution. The organization’s goal is to get a gift in every soldier’s hands. Visit soldiersangels.org for details.
Convenient giving options abound online:
adoptaplatoon.org | Support an entire platoon through letters, care packages and more.
cfsrf.org | The Children of Fallen Soldiers Relief Fund is a nonprofit that provides college grants and financial assistance to surviving family members of fallen soldiers of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
give2thetroops.org | Find a list of requested items troops need from home, or find out how you can donate.
hugs4smilesusa.org | Adopt a troop and family, and send care packages and letters in support to both.
opchristmas.org | A nonprofit dedicated to creating happy holidays for children and families of fallen soldiers through donated Christmas gifts.
operationcareandcomfort.org | Volunteer program offering support and care packages to our troops every month until they are home.
operationmilitarypride.org | Help keep morale high with letters, care packages and more.
ourmilitary.mil | This U.S. Department of Defense website dedicated to our troops includes ways to send care packages, letters and cards, along with other ways to lend support and services to our military families.
treatanysoldier.com | Pick a soldier, send a letter and/or care package and brighten a day.
treatsfortroops.info | Foster a soldier, form a group gift, send a birthday package and more.
withlovefromhome.org | A site that collects items and letters of support to send overseas.