Editor's note: Inspired by the children she works with, Clinton resident Lori Coco wrote this article in which she asks her young charges:
What are you thankful for?
It is so easy today to get caught up in the commercialism of the holiday season and the hustle and bustle of preparations. Particularly this year, with the downward trend of the economy and the recent local effects that storm Sandy brought about for many, it is especially important to find a way to celebrate the holidays in a meaningful way. I encourage everyone to take the time and effort to recall the meaning of Thanksgiving by contemplating what they are thankful for and expressing this to others.
I work with very young children and one of our traditions during the week of Thanksgiving is a ‘fruit feast.’ Every child brings in a piece of fruit to share with all of the other children (emphasis on share). The children wash and prepare the fruit, gather together and express their gratitude with songs, then enjoy the bountiful feast. Another more recent tradition for the four and five year olds is to display a large turkey on their bulletin board which they all help to create. Each child traces and cuts out a feather on which teachers write down what they are thankful for. I’d like to share some of my favorites with you:
I am thankful for…
-My sister. I can’t even live without her.
-The turkey and cheese sandwiches my dad packs me for lunch.
-My dog. He comes to the bus stop with me every day.
-My brother because he plays with me a lot. He always gives me hugs.
-Today my baby sister smiled at me. I am thankful for that.
It seems to me that if children at this young age can understand and connect with the idea of giving thanks, then we adults need to encourage this by doing so ourselves. Here are some of the things that I believe we all can be thankful for:
Be thankful for the health and happiness of yourself and your family.
Be thankful for the food and shelter that you are able to provide for them.
Be thankful for the fresh air that you breathe, the clean water that you drink, and the strong ground that you walk upon.
Be thankful for the encouragement and support of your friends.
Be thankful for the time you allow yourself to spend time with your family as well as the time you allow yourself to spend alone.
Be thankful for the wisdom you have gained and that which you have received from others.
Be thankful for the talents you possess, share them with others, and embrace those that others share with you.
Be thankful for your community, your nation, your world.
Be thankful for the green grass, the flowing rivers, and the majestic mountains.
Be thankful for the rising sun, the glowing moon, the shining stars, and the vast universe.
Be thankful for each and every day.
I sincerely hope that we all can create the time to express their own personal gratitude this Thanksgiving to our loved ones. And don’t forget to allow the time to listen to what each of them feels thankful for as well.
-- Lori Coco