Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Traditions & Creating Compassion

Years ago I realized that as a mother I couldn't always protect my children from every hurt that might cross their paths but I could try to foster a sense that there would always be something to look forward to and appreciate in their lives no matter what else was going on or happening.
I have found one way to do that is to maintain certain family traditions.

One tradition that I have done for years with my kids is passing out food or other donations on the morning of the Thanksgiving holiday.

I greatly appreciate the various service centers that collect food and other items for people in our community. But I feel like as far as instilling a sense of giving back in my own children I have always wanted the experience to be more real for them.

If we only send a check or drop off a box of food the kids never really see that some people have a lot less than they do. When we lived in Dallas, TX there were at least 200 people that would hang outside one of the homeless shelters. We had a tradition to make a whole bunch of brown bag lunches with turkey, a drink and a snack and pass them out on Thanksgiving morning. One year when it was extra cold we passed out blankets. Another time, we handed out gift cards for McDonald's.

It was a small contribution but I think my children do have meaningful memories of each of those Thanksgivings and who knows maybe it has helped if even a small way to create in them compassion for others.

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