How to Make Giving Thanks a Regular Part of Family Life

There’s a lot of talk about giving thanks, most especially in November. Thanksgiving Day is one of the holidays most loved by families. In our Greek’s Pizzeria restaurants, we see adults and children teaching and modeling giving thanks in a variety of ways:

  • There is liberal use of mannerly “please” and “thank you” for each other and servers.
  • That extends into comments like “thank you for helping your sister with her napkin” and “thank you for bringing me out for dinner tonight!”
  • We see some families bowing their heads and giving thanks for the meal.
  • Some have even expressed thanks to us for a comfortable, cozy place to lift their spirits after a long and challenging day.

If you listen as you go about your days, you will discover, just like us, that giving thanks is not limited to the eleventh month of the year. With that in mind, and to share some of the attitude of gratitude we see in our customers every day, we thought we might share a few ways to keep thanks front of mind this month, and in every month to come.

For this Thanksgiving, set a tone of appreciation within your family. Spend some time talking about the people who will be around your table this holiday. Depending on the ages of the children in your family, write notes of appreciation for every guest. You could collectively write one note if your children are small, including their comments about how they love when Grandma bakes them cookies, or Grandpa tickles them with his beard. Maybe Uncle Joe always makes it a point to discuss their newest interests in depth with them. Or Aunt Jen is appreciated for the jokes she shares.

Prepare for your feast of Thanksgiving by including the local food pantry shelves. Add food and personal items to your list and then share the abundance your family appreciates with those in need. Deliver them as a family.

Include a gratitude time during a daily meal. It could be breakfast, if everyone is together, or the evening meal. With a daily expectation of sharing something for which each person is grateful, attention is drawn to recognizing all the big – and little – things in life. When days seem more filled with what is not wanted, looking for the lessons to be learned is a teachable moment for parents.

If daily life is hectic with conflicting schedules, have family members write thank you notes to each other and drop them in a jar. Simple statements like …

“thank you, Samantha, for leaving hot water for my shower”

“thank you, Kevin, for taking out the garbage for me when I was at baseball practice”

“thank you, Mom, for getting my homework assignments when I was sick”

… lets each person in the family know they are appreciated for the little things they do for each other. Having others notice their efforts confirms that they are important members of the family team. Giving thanks for others is the other side of the same coin. Helping each other out, and pitching in without being asked is what makes the team strong.

Choose an evening when everyone is home, order pizza and salads from Greek’s Pizzeria, and share the contents of the appreciation jar over a relaxed and tasty meal. Good food, good feelings, and giving thanks make for loving family memories.

“Thanksgiving is good, but thanks living is better.” – Matthew Henry

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