Seniors are quite aware that today’s children are growing up with far more choices than were available in earlier generations. Having many options can be both good and bad. It is wonderful to be able to select just the right fit for a particular need; it is terrible to find oneself overwhelmed with information overload to the point of either depression or always wanting, and feeling entitled to, more stuff. Thanksgiving can remind people of all ages to stop and look around at what they have. This exercise may slow down the outlandish desire for more by people who will never be satisfied with what they have since they are always on the lookout for more and more goodies.
Why Grateful Living is So Needed by Today’s Seniors and Others
The economy brings attention to the need to look clearly at what we have. It is tempting for parents and grandparents to want to give children more than they had. Yet the values we hold most dear may be overlooked in what we pass on to the next generations.
For example, if we just hand kids stuff they have no opportunity to learn about the satisfaction which comes from earning. Encouraging children in the process of earning can have a permanent effect on their lives. Young people deserve a chance to live in thankfulness for what they have. One way to help with this is to model a spirit of gratefulness in daily living.
Grandparents are in a particular position to show grandkids about grateful living since many children end up emulating values they learned from their grandparents. Time spent showing children about being thankful will make positive holiday memories that last far beyond Christmas.
What to Do With Grandchildren to Teach Gratefulness
Older adults have usually had enough life experience to recognize the importance of what I call “deep breathing moments.” Those are the moments where all else stops and people find themselves still and breathing deeply in peace and contentment. It could be a sunset, art, music, a nature walk, or any of a wide variety of experiences where thankfulness swells to the top of everything else around.
Togetherness with friends and family can bring the same type of feelings. Grandparents can invite grandchildren to make cookies, go to church, see a movie, cook something together, or just hang out. This may require the senior citizens doing their homework to make sure the event planned has some appeal for the grandchild.
Black Friday With the Grandkids
Black Friday offers a marvelous moment for showing children that one can have a great time without spending money. Throw a spontaneous kids party for the grandkids without blowing the budget. Watching a movie with popcorn in the living room after making bubbles outside in the yard can make great memories, and set a fine example for their future. (The parents may be off getting deals on Christmas gifts, but it may be better for the kids not to be aware so they can focus on thankfulness more than on what they might get!)
Spending a few hours with grandchildren doing something for someone else in need can help put life in perspective. Those hours suddenly make all the wants move a bit further down on the list. Sharing a quiet meal afterwards and reflecting on the activity even makes it a more valuable experience. These are the times which bring comfort when life deals out harder times. The closeness possible at such events lends itself to expression of a grandparent’s love and hopes for a grandchild.
Older adults have a golden opportunity to model living in gratefulness to their grandchildren at this or any time of year. There are many reasons including the economy for living a grateful life. In addition to Thanksgiving season, Black Friday presents a chance to show that fun can be had without breaking the budget. During the holidays children are sometimes more open to expressions of love and wisdom, and may listen when told to give thanks before talking about Christmas. Take advantage of the season to help your grandkids and others be thankful for what they have!