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Dad Life: Helping My Kids Understand the Importance of Being Thankful

Seeing that we’re already in November, and the holidays are quickly approaching (where does the time go?), I thought it would be appropriate to discuss the importance of being thankful.

Raising three little girls in today’s society isn’t easy. We have so many things to be thankful for like family, friends, a roof over our heads, or even food on the table, but sometimes we forget just how lucky we are to have all of these things that we just take them for granted. We’ve become a society focused on instant gratification with little to no regard on what it takes to earn something. We’re so worried about the things we don’t have, and we forget to reflect and be thankful for what we do. The idea that we need to “keep up with the Joneses” and have the latest and greatest can lead us into an endless cycle of needing more and more, which is sending the wrong message to our children.

For years, I was stuck in this very cycle of feeling that I needed to have the latest and greatest, no matter what the cost, especially if others I knew had it. As my wife and I started to grow our family, I realized far later than I’d like to admit that this way of thinking was mentally and financially having a damaging effect on my life and my family. After taking time to reflect on my actions, I decided to change my mindset and focus on being thankful for what and who I have in my life, instead of what I don’t.

Our three girls are now 12, 7, and 5, and each of them have a fear of missing out and struggle from time to time with being thankful. There are a few things that I’ve put in place for my family to help them understand the importance of being thankful. We take time as a family to volunteer at local food shelves, we donate toys and clothes to children in need, and we focus on experiences with our kids vs. materials. Most importantly, we take time and talk with our kids and have instilled family and friendship.

“No man is a failure who has friends.” –  Mark Twain

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