Thanksgiving is always a fun time of year to experience through a child’s eyes. Schools across America are involved in projects to celebrate the Thanksgiving season. There are reenactments of the first Thanksgiving dinner where children dress in pilgrim and Native American costumes and give thanks. Down the school hallways, turkey and cornucopia art projects are displayed along side essays on what each student is most thankful for.
Usually part of the school celebration includes each student bringing in a dish and having their own Thanksgiving feast. The teachers discuss how the pilgrims celebrated in order to thank God for their safe journey across the Atlantic and their new life in America where they coexist peacefully with the Natives. We know this is not completely accurate but it’s what they learn year after year. Perhaps our children would be more thankful for what they have if they had a better understanding of the hardships faced by the settlers – the cold weather, sickness, dwindling supplies and deaths. It’s a great way to show kids that even though their DS is great they should be most thankful for the simple things they take for granted such as food, health and a warm, comfortable place to sleep.
Most kids will say they are thankful for their parents or their dog. Some youngsters will get patriotic and say they are thankful to be an American but do they really understand what that means? But still many others will say they are most thankful for material things. These things are nice but ask the child, if they had no material things then what would they be most thankful for?
Teach them the real story of the pilgrims then ask, if you were a pilgrim child, what would you be most thankful for? The answers may surprise you, and in them you will see the real meaning of Thanksgiving.