Promoting a Spirit of Gratefulness in Kids – A Tale of Two Letters by Jennifer Miller on NBC’s Parent Toolkit.
“In the past week, my eight year old son E has been busily writing letters and researching their content. “What excellent academic practice!” I might typically think. But in this case, I did not. Instead the “Dear Santa” letter followed by “Dear Grandma, Mom, Dad and Guy-down-the street, I want the following presents…” turned my happy boy into a grumpy one. I noticed his mind was consumed with what he wanted and didn’t have. He was coming down with a pretty intense case of the “Galloping Greedy Gimmies” as the Berenstain Bears so aptly refer to it. And I began to worry that it might turn into a seasonal trend over the coming weeks.
I was hoping a family ritual would protect him against the “gimmies.” Each November, we take time out in the evenings as a family before bedtime to talk about what we are thankful for. We write down our specific thoughts for the day and put the notes into a felt tree that hangs on our wall as we countdown to Thanksgiving. That nightly tradition gives us the chance to talk about the spirit of giving and gratefulness for the season. We all have hopes for toys or gifts that may come. But if we really want to join in the spirit of the season regardless of what holidays we celebrate in the coming months, the themes are universal. They are to feel the love we share between family and friends and to celebrate the goodness we already enjoy in our lives.” Read the full article.