Pagan Parenting

November 1st, 2009

Family Values: Thankfulness

Values in relation to family building are defined as: “one’s principles, priorities, or standards.”  Values are what is important to us, what we give meaning to in our lives, and how we delegate the priority of our time, of ourselves.

Words that are considered values are thrown around in our speech daily.  Respect, kindness, honesty, fidelity…but as we use these words do we actually live them?  Are they buzz words, or ideals?  And how do we live these ideas as pagan parents and enact them within our family, as an example to our children?

As an ongoing series in Pagan Parenting Every Day I will be exploring some different values and delving into specific examples of how to incorporate them into our lives and teach our children about them as well.    I will probably present them every two months to keep the content fresh but please feel free to contact me at stonegirl1177 AT yahoo DOT ca with any suggestions of values you’d like me to talk about in more depth.  As always this is one pagan parent’s opinion in the myriad of ways we parent and you can find more of my writings at http://www.chasingdomesticbliss.blogspot.com

Thankfulness

As my son grows I find I am more and more aware of my own actions.  I notice how I treat others when I see him watching me, I think of how to take care of my possessions and what example I want to model for him.   As a pagan I believe that the earth is sacred and so are all her creatures.  Therefore I want to be thankful for the blessings that are in my life.  I try to let my son see my gratitude, and I speak it out as often as I can.  Saying the words means something.  For our children it is about manners but also it is a great lesson on the path of life.

Besides the obvious thankful times of year there are many places to insert thankful thoughts.  When you or your little one pulls the plug out of the bathtub after a relaxing bath you can thank the water.  When you get off the bus you can thank the driver.  Most importantly I think that we should thank our children as we bid them to thank others.  Walking the talk in this case is sure to reap rewards when later on you send your little one out there to interact with others.  In the hurry of our lives today we often forget to thank others.  And it comes down to prioritizing what your family values the most. Talking about why we should be thankful is part of keeping the meaning in the words for our kids.  Do we want our children to say an empty “Thanks” or do we need to teach them not only the words but the why.  Why should I be thankful for this food, why should I be thankful for my brother when he bugged me throughout the day?

Food is a pretty basic to explain to kids.  The cycle of the seasons, scarcity, growth, the amount of time and energy it takes to get food from a seed, to a plant, to the table.  Growing plants with your kids helps them to grasp this concept.  Another alternative is to read about how our food is grown or visit local farms. The elements all contribute to growing food and they can be tied into any conversation which can lead to chants or blessings that make being thankful more eloquent and moving.

Another great method I’ve read about is giving a child who is upset with their sibling the chance to say their piece and then asking them to say 5 nice things, things they are thankful for, about the sibling to counter the one thing that made them angry or sad.  This helps us to put into perspective that all humans are imperfect, that we have nice parts and not so nice parts to our personalities but if that other person was not there our life would be lacking.

The dark pit of parenting self-pity houses many of us in moments of stress and frustration.  Sometimes it seems easier to list the many things that are wrong instead of the many blessings around us.  Writing those things that you are thankful for down or speaking them out loud creates a ladder that can lead you out of the pit.  And the child that witnesses this is sure to grow with a sense of what is really important to their family and hopefully that gratitude will give them a standard that will stay with them and help them on their path.


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