Kids are both the best and the worst at showing gratitude in general because they have incredible honesty. For instance, you might hear something like “Wow! Thank you so much for giving me a hamster! You are the best parents in the world!” uttered with complete feeling, followed by “Now I want two” or “I wan’t a dog” or “How come you won’t get me a horse?” Its not that you don’t have this with prayer (Thank you- I want something) but as parents we want to focus on teaching gratitude both to others and in prayers. This years Global Day of Jewish Learning focuses on showing gratitude and blessing for both good and bad. My last post focused on Blessing for the bad, which has proven to be timely given the hurricane and rockets to the south. We are thinking about our friends and family affected by both of these events as well as those we don’t know.
Gratitude for what we eat
This post is peripherally related. I will talk about ways to teach about blessings and prayer in another post. This post is about gratitude for the food we eat. Recently my daughter was walking with my husband who had gotten her an ice cream cone. They had a discussion which basically went like this- did she know that all the food we get is from Hashem? When we say a bracha/blessing its basically thanking Hashem for giving us that something to eat.
Food blessings are complicated for 5 year olds. But we have been working on grace after meals, in particular, Al Hamichya. We have been learning Rabbi Ari Shwat/Shvat’s version as we walk to gan. I have this on an old tape which I bought many years ago, but luckily it is also on YouTube. Learning al hamichya this way is helpful both because it has a tune to learn and in that we can discuss what it means. Walking to school discussions tend to be fun this way in that you can talk about existential topics simply.
Anyway- Rav Shwat/Shvat’s Al Hamichya via youtube.
Update on Thank you for Food:
I have since done this with other children. Interestingly enough, one of them began to ask me about particular words (kalkala, for instance) which led to some good discussions about what the blessing is about.
I would love to hear your ideas for teaching blessings and prayer to kids.