Sue Scheff: Teaching gratitude even on Halloween?
MommyPerks founder, Shara Lawrence-Weiss, recently posted an excellent article on the upcoming event called Halloween! O-kay, I have never been a big fan of this holiday (so to speak), however I know the kids love it and look forward to it. Shara has a great positive twist to Halloween that helps teach our kids about appreciation and gratitude.
TEACHING GRATITUDE EVEN ON HALLOWEEN
By Shara Lawrence-Weiss
I am a big believer in the need to teach our children/students a heart of gratitude. As with most things, modeling this behavior is the most effective way to teach it.
We can model gratitude simply by saying "thank you" or by offering hugs, a touch on the arm, an appreciative and genuine word, etc. We can also make a point to teach thankfulness and gratitude by offering our kids/students activities that promote these concepts.
Having spent much of my youth growing up in Australia, I was not aware of any Halloween traditions until our family moved to the States. My parents researched the background of the holiday and made the decision not to allow us to trick or treat. Instead, they took us to a movie each year and allowed us to pick out some lollies at a local shop (so we didn't feel left out the day after Halloween when all the kids at school brought their sweets along to sort through and trade).
While we do not necessarily like some of the Halloween traditions and/or decorations, we do allow our kids to participate in dressing up (in non 'evil' characters) and carrying around buckets or sacks to gather up sweets.
Really - when you think about it - it's a very funny holiday. Going from door-to-door shoving a bucket toward a stranger, asking for free junk food. Doing this on ANY other night of the year would be cause for long term lock up :-) All the same, kids LOVE it, don't they? So...we do partake.
One thing I have certainly noticed over the years is the lacking of an attitude of gratitude when kids trick or treat. They seem to believe they have a right to ask for the sweets and in all fairness, they have been told to do it so of course they feel entitled.
What to do?
So glad you asked :-) Lisa recently sent me to her Bing Note site to see a PDF file containing 4 Halloween thank you note cut-outs. Ha! Can you believe no one else has thought of this? Perhaps they have and we simply didn't know about it. All the same, we know now and I think it's a fabulous idea: teaching our kids to be grateful - even for FREE CANDY!
I showed the flier to Barb, owner of Treasures4Teachers.org. She then showed the flier to a group of teachers who stated they will use the printouts in their classrooms, having the children cut out the thank you notes prior to their trick or treat evening of fun.
Join me, won't you? Print out the notes and help your child cut around the lines (great early childhood activity right there). Teach them to appreciate what is offered by the neighbors and the thought that goes into buying and providing the holiday treats for so many children.
Click here to view the flier and print (free of charge).
And of course - a big THANKS to the Bing Note team for thinking up this tremendous idea. Your products, ethics and values are a blessing to all of us.
Thanks Shara for a great article!