My favorite Thanksgiving advice
Special Thanks This Thanksgiving
By Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller
Millions of parents will pause this Thanksgiving to do what the day was originally created for — give thanks for the many blessings that exist in their lives. . .But what if your appreciation this Thanksgiving took on a new look? What if the blessings you count this year included situations that aren’t usually regarded as helpful, useful or valuable? Consider the following:
Why not be thankful that your child is two years behind grade level in his reading ability? This struggling reader is giving you the opportunity to read to him regularly at night. This evening ritual will help build connectedness between you and your child while at the same time modeling your love for the printed word. Great literature can be shared as you simultaneously bond with your child. This opportunity is an incredible blessing. Appreciate it. . .
Why not be thankful that your teenager received a speeding ticket? Getting a ticket is not a bad thing. Not if your teen learns from it and slows her driving for the next year. If she takes personal responsibility, pays the ticket, and is more cautious about her driving, the ticket may well save her life or the life of someone else in the future. Bless the ticket and give thanks for its blessings.
Why not be thankful that your 8-year-old shoplifted in the grocery store? This is the perfect time to teach your child about shoplifting. Better now than when he helps himself to someone else’s car when he is 18. Teach him how to make amends. Teach him what to say as he returns the candy bars to the storeowner. Help him learn to articulate what he learned and what he intends to do differently next time. Bless this perfect time to teach lessons about taking things that don’t belong to you. Be grateful for the opportunity.
Why not be thankful that your youngsters track mud and sand into the garage and house? The next time you stand in the garage furiously sweeping sand and wishing that your children were better behaved; quietly remind yourself that one day you’ll wish you had sand to sweep out of the garage. Love the mud. Love the sand. Be grateful for the signs of the presence of children in your life. . .
Why not be thankful that your adolescent asked you about sex? This is a great sign. It means your child trusts you enough to talk to you about sex. It means she is not getting all her sex knowledge from the street. It means you have moved beyond “the talk” to having an ongoing, honest conversation about the important subject of sex. Congratulate yourself. It is a blessing that you are willing to fulfill that role for your child and that she is responding to it positively. Give thanks. . .
Why not give thanks that your child is spilling milk, talking with his mouth full, wiping cranberry sauce on his new pants, refusing to eat his vegetables, and interrupting his grandmother at the dinner table this day? It means you have more work to do as a parent. It means your job is not yet done. This is a blessing. You are still needed to help your child learn to pour milk more carefully, improve his table manners, learn to eat nutritiously, and show respect for elders. Give thanks for these opportunities. . .
This Thanksgiving remember that parenting is a ministry. It is a sacred role that you are being called to perform. Give thanks that you have been called. Give thanks that you are willing to step forward and accept that call. Appreciate that you are being shown the way. Celebrate yourself and your contribution to healing the planet by helping your children evolve into the people they were meant to be. You are a blessing to the world. Give thanks that you are up to the task.
Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller are the authors of The 10 Commitments: Parenting with Purpose. Follow their parenting posts at Uncommon-Parenting.