For Americans blessed with abundance, Thanksgiving offers an opportunity for family and friends to come together, eat delicious food, and think about all they’re grateful for.
I’m mindful that many Native Americans view the holiday as a day of mourning, and that for people without a home or lacking the means to create a feast, Thanksgiving may be a reminder of struggle or lack of options or opportunity.
Still, we can use Thanksgiving as a prompt to flex our gratitude muscles.
The ability to empathize and show kindness to others forms the foundation for recognizing injustice and acting to create a more equitable world.
All children, even those who come to the world with a natural inclination towards empathy and caring, can exercise and grow their “kindness muscles.” One of our most important jobs as parents and teachers is to nurture our childrens’ propensity for kindness.
We can help others in many ways: we can comfort friends when they feel sad, shovel an elderly neighbor’s driveway, or volunteer for an organization working on social justice issues. We can become involved in a political campaign. And we can give money.
Talk with your child about the many and varied ways to make a difference in the world, and together, come up with some ideas for how to be a helper. Include making donations as one part of a larger strategy of activism.
Your child is watching you. When you model kindness and generosity, he or she learns to be kind and generous.
Building a better world starts with developing habits of kindness, and feeling - early and often - the joy of giving. …