We’ve all heard a similar phrase at least once in our lives and maybe even said it once or twice ourselves. (Guilty) But have we ever stopped to actually think about what we are teaching our children when we say that phrase?
As I was mumbling a very similar sentence to my children recently, it occurred to me that in one simple phrase I was setting up a very clear “us/them” culture. I’m saying, “Be thankful you aren’t them!” and “Be thankful you have things others don’t have!”
Why is it so important to be thankful without comparison? Because while comparing we are inadvertently teaching our kids that they only need to be thankful for the things that make them “better” than someone else. When we are thankful we have things others don’t, we also start to notice more and more that others have lives that seem bigger and better than ours. And that starts to make us feel like we are lacking.
How to Raise Thankful Kids
So, we have started a project in my house.
We are working on simply being thankful for what we have. We know we won’t always have the newest gaming system or eat at the best restaurants. But, we also know we are able to sit at the table at night and play a family game of Scrabble.
Thinking about raising thankful kids without comparison has truly made me view the world in a different light.
This simple shift in my thought process makes me a happier, more understanding person. I hope I am raising my kids to feel true compassion for those in need without also thinking, “I’m glad I’m not them.” When we see a classmate who has the newest iPhone or the coolest gaming system, we say, “I am glad they have things that make them happy!”
This Thanksgiving when we all sit down to make a list of things we are thankful for, we will think deeper and work harder to remember what truly makes us happy. We will talk about what really matters. We’ll take a huge breath of fresh air while cuddling up in our warm house. We will remember that we actually have everything we truly need.
And I will remind the kids to just be thankful that Grandma did the cooking and not to think about what would have happened if I had tried to cook the turkey myself!