Teaching Gratitude, Thanks and Prayer

18 Nov

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Its a difficult time now for families in many different places. Our thoughts are with innocent victims and families that are suffering.

It has been inspiring to hear how some people are expressing gratitude, given the trying times. Maybe I’ll share some of them at another time.

This post is supposed to be about helping kids give thanks to Gd. In this period leading up to US thanksgiving, there are actually many activities out there specifically on gratitude. For instance, this post on teaching gratitude at home.

I have been thinking about this topic for a while. I had seen a nice idea for emphasizing prayer from a Montessori style homeschool blogger and wanted to try something similar. We have been using a more laid back method but perhaps we will end up getting more formal as time goes on.

Here are a few things we have been doing:

1. Asking for expressions of thanks at meals and when davening. Think of private prayers for specific events, things, people.

2. Asking whether there is something specific our daughter would like to daven for. This includes things that bother her (sometimes it sounds like “Hashem I am upset that my Ima won’t let me…”)

We are working towards this type of organized thoughts of prayer:

Thank you for giving me

{food, clothing, a hamster, friends, a good day, wonderful teachers, the ability to grow, opportunity to learn new things…}
I want to daven for
{saba/savta/parent/friend who is not feeling well, world peace, safety for friends and relatives in hurricane affected areas, friends and relatives in bomb affected areas, people I don’t know affected by…}

We want to ask for

{This is a plural prayer to make a connection between individual wants and community wants.}

Thank you for the challange
{This is in a way Thank you for the Bad, however framed in a positive way. We often talk about how we are grateful for the fact that we have been given the opportunity to learn new things. This is part of the same concept.}

Help me be more {kind, polite, generous etc.}

I have not made any visual notes for this as I wonder whether that is more helpful or more limiting. I do think these are good to do as a parent/child activity together both as a teaching moment as a personal growth moment.

Do you have any suggestions of what works for you?

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