With Thanksgiving coming up there is so much focus on being thankful. I feel like gratitude is the single most important gift I can give my children. Taking inventory every day is something I do before I go to bed each night when I write at least five things I am grateful for, even if one of those things is "I'm going to sleep now." Every day at dinner time we say what we are thankful for and the list usually includes our families, friends, school, and some random statements like "this dinner, or gymnastics". Whenever I think that I might be slighting my children by not giving them much in the way of religion, I think about gratitude. In a way I feel like that simple pause to think about people and things that we have in our lives is something that will serve them well on a personal and spiritual level.
My daughter comes home with drawings from school of Pilgrims and Native Americans. She learns poems about fat turkeys and has art projects with feathers. She learned the Pledge of Allegiance, and before Veteran's Day she came home with an American Flag that she painted with a poem about American pride. I also remember a lot of these things from school growing up, but I don't know how much of it I agree with, or how much I actually absorbed. I thought maybe my child wasn't getting enough of the gratitude at school and then yesterday I saw some of the work she brought home and changed my tune. She is getting a perfect balance of the political stuff (which she can question when she gets old enough). mixed with the good moral rich, sensitive, critical thinking stuff that will prepare her well for the real world.
Just as I was in the middle of writing this, she came home from school with a worksheet that has pictures of kids posing as Pilgrims back in the day. Each picture has a comment under it stating what the child is grateful for and then a question. "I am grateful for my family" followed by, "Are you grateful for your family?", then the option of "yes" or "no." I looked for the statement about being grateful we stole this country from the poor Native Americans, but I didn't see it. I'm glad they left that out since that can not be answered quite so easily.