Thanksgiving has long been my favorite holiday. Good food, family togetherness, some good wine, and no gifts. Did I mention how much I like the NO GIFTS?! There are no expectations from the kids for anything but seeing cousins, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other extended family, and seeing a Turkey on the Table™. When I say a “Turkey on the Table”, I used to mean something you eat with your mashed potatoes and stuffing, but for my family it has come to mean something entirely different.
It didn’t happen on purpose, instead it happened during my “exercise” with a girlfriend which equated to quick walks down the trail by my children’s school between my 3 pick up and 3 drop off times, squeezed in between laundry and errands. It happened during talks on these walks about wanting my children to be more appreciative for the things they have and not on the things they wanted or “needed”, and to value Thanksgiving the way I do.
After much research we saw how much gratitude plays into a child’s happiness; when you focus on the things you have instead of the things you don’t, your whole view of the world shifts. In various research the practice of gratitude shows to improve health, grades in school, building relationships, and the way they face adversity.
Why wouldn’t we want to instill this in our children?! As parents, we spend so much time correcting bad habits: biting nails, picking their nose, chewing with mouth open, leaving the toilet seat up (can you tell that I have boys?). It feels so much better as a parent to help instill GOOD habits. I believe that being grateful (the inner feeling of good things received) AND thankful (outwardly showing appreciation for things) is one of the very best things we can teach our children. It costs so very little to instill gratitude, and it gives them SO much.
Think of all the time and money we spend on piano lessons, karate, tutors, and sports, if we could take part of that time to dedicate to children being thankful, they would see benefits with better grades, better health, less toxic emotions, and a happy heart. Isn’t that what we want most for our children?
I wasn’t looking to start a business (I can barely take a shower and put on make up most days), but I was looking to start teaching the habit of gratitude with my children. My walking partner, became my business partner, and after much research, we decided that we wanted to help all parents start the habit of gratitude. Turkey on the Table™ was born out of love, the desire to spread thankfulness, the hope to give back, and wanting to share that with others.
After 26 days of Thankful Feathers (the daily log of their gratitude) the children will complete with our Turkey on the Table™ product, they will dig a little deeper on the things they are grateful for. It is easy to come up with one or two, but by day 24 you will be surprised to see what they start coming up with. After Thanksgiving, I know that my children will not hesitate to start making their Christmas lists with the newest XBOX games, but maybe while doing so they will also be thankful for the warm bed they will sleep in that night.
Written By Kerry Maunus
Kerry lives in the East Bay of San Francisco (but still considers herself a midwesterner at heart). She resides with her husband, her 3 crazy boys, a dog, and a cat. She loves date nights with her husband, drinking wine, and spending her weekends on the many sports fields cheering on her boys.