In our house, Christmas is a work in progress, as far as gratitude goes.
Last year we celebrated with just our small, immediate family. And thankfully (or maybe not), there were not a ton of presents underneath our tree. Most of them were either for our older son or for the entire family, so we let him have the pleasure of opening them.
Not surprisingly, we found ourselves repeating a refrain familiar to parents everywhere during the holidays and at birthday parties:
Take time to look at it!
This is not a race!
What we really meant, of course, is that we want our kids to actually appreciate the gifts they’re given. Birthdays and holidays should be more than just a flurry of presents and torn wrapping paper. Everyone likes receiving gifts, but it’s important that we take the time to acknowledge them.
And, more important still, to be thankful for them.
Saying “thank you” is a great start. Maybe give a hug, if both parties feel so inclined. At the least, we want time to mentally note who gave what so that cards can be sent later.
Fact is, we know that our children appreciate the gifts they’re given. Just as they appreciate the other important parenting roles we play.
When our kids are babies, of course, we don’t expect gratitude. We’re content to be their whole world—for those first few months, anyway. We don’t expect to be thanked for [Read more…]