Fall 2011 - Gratitude

Dear Friends

I rolled my eyes and whined at the time, but now, as an adult, I am ever grateful for having been exposed to the culture of saying 'thank you' as a child. And just for the record, I'm not talking about just writing thank you notes for birthday and Christmas gifts. I'm talking about writing to teachers at the end of the school year, to friends' parents when I'd been to a sleepover, and to anyone who had worked with me to help me get what I wanted (an interview, a job, a promotion, etc.). Don't get me wrong. At the time, it certainly wasn't the first thing on my mind to do after opening a present, after someone did me a favor, or on the first day of summer vacation! I procrastinated as long as I could without looking and feeling like a slacker, but my elders' insistence that thank you notes were non-negotiable definitely paved the way for the creation of a habit that has enhanced my own life and probably brought a smile here and there to the recipients of my notes.

I do believe that the practice of thanking someone in writing helps take the edge off what has become a hectic, impersonal world, but I also know that I'd have to be living in a cave to think that written thank you notes will be all the rage by next year. Still, there are always things for which to be grateful and expressing that gratitude can take as little as a second or two. How about giving a grateful wave to the driver who lets you merge in front of him? Or smiling your thanks to the grocery store checker? Or responding with sometimes-hard-to-muster graciousness to the telephone Customer Service rep who's probably halfway around the world? Frankly, the very fact that life presents us with so many opportunities to say 'thank you' in one form or another is a gift, in and of itself.

We only have to know a fraction of what is going on in the world to realize that it must be nearly impossible for some people in some parts of the world to have anything for which to be thankful. Fortunately for our children, we live in a world chock full of reasons for gratitude. Unfortunately, though, living our relatively easy lives (compared to much of the world) can create a sense of entitlement that leaves few reasons to give thanks. Food on the table? Of course. Someone to drive you to soccer practice? Duh! A doctor to see you when you're sick? Please. And that's why it's important for our kids to see and hear us express gratitude, no matter how small -- to the driver who let us merge, to the checker at the store, and to whomever it is we're talking to on the phone. The list is pretty much endless -- and that, in itself, is reason to be grateful!

Other Issues:
From our archives -- Offering Wisdom to New Moms

From our archives -- The Best Good Deed

From our archives -- Embracing the Wonder of Children

From our archives -- Encouraging children to live their bliss

From our archives

Holiday 2013 -- Embracing the World of Wonder

Winter 2013 -- Recipe for a Happy Thanksgiving

Fall 2013 -- Finding Beauty in the Everyday Tasks

Late Summer 2013 - Taking Our Own Advice

Midsummer 2013 -- Appreciating Nature's Bounty

Early Summer 2013 -- Being Prepared

Late Spring 2013 -- Having Realistic Expectations

Spring 2013 -- Offering Mothering Wisdom

Early Spring 2013 -- Being True to Our Nature

Holiday 2012 -- Appreciate the Goodness

Winter 2012 -- Enjoying the Anticipation

Early Fall 2012 -- Looking Back to Appreciate Now

Summer 2012 -- Chinaberry's History & Future

Early Summer 2012 -- My Dad

Late Spring 2012 -- My Satisfying Yet Untraditional Upbringing

Spring 2012 - The Consequences of Our Actions

Early Spring 2012 - Learning From Experience

Winter 2011 - The Small Moments

Holiday 2011 - The Good Deed

Late Summer 2011 - Overwhelmed? You're Not Alone.

Midsummer 2011 - Louise's Gallery

Early Summer 2011 - Flying 101: Giving Them Wings

Late Spring 2011 - Letting Them Fail

Spring 2011

Early Spring 2011 - Encouraging Your Kids to Live Their Bliss

Fall 2010 - The Chinaberry Commitment

Late Summer 2010 - In the Blink of an Eye

Midsummer 2010 - It's Her Story

Early Summer 2010 - Weathering the Storm

Gifts From My Mother

Spring 2010 - Enjoy the Ride

Early Spring 2010 - Enter the Land of Dirt and Bugs

Winter 2009 - Less Cleaning, More Meaning

Holiday 2009 - Finding Gratitude Every Day

Fall 2009 - Teaching Children Through Our Actions

Late Summer 2009 - A Spoonful of Sugar

Midsummer 2009 - Give Your Kids the Gift of Boredom this Summer

Early Summer 2009 - Who's the Kid and Who's the Parent?

Late Spring 2009 - Making Connections

Spring 2009 - Fully Engaging With Our Children

Early Spring 2009 - Building Character While Playing Characters

Winter 2008 - Never Underestimate the Value of a Good Hello

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Holiday 2007

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