The other morning, Parker was talking about how busy they were at school. He said they had a lot of projects to finish, but they were also writing essays this week. He was thrilled to share that the essay was about gratitude. Of course, my ears perked up as I was curious how he answered. “I am grateful for my home”, he declared. Immediately, I acknowledged his wise answer by asking him to tell me more. He proudly responded, “I am grateful for my home because it keeps me safe, warm and my food fresh.” It was a very uplifting moment as we work very hard to teach our boys the simple lessons in life. But, it could have easily gone in the other direction.
What is the typical answer for most 3rd graders? So, I asked Parker to tell me what other kids wrote about in their essays. Well, some of the kids’ answers were not as deep. One classmate was thankful for his iPhone 4s and another for his video games. Wow, I am certainly glad some of our parenting skills have paid off, because if Parker had answered that he was most grateful for his new iPad2, I would have promptly taken it away from him.
I guess I understand that children are overwhelmed with excitement by the limitless amount of technology these days but ultimately, they are material things that are not essential for true happiness. Don’t get me wrong the boys adore playing video games, watching movies and experimenting with all the cool apps on the iPad, but we limit the time spent on these activities. Our goal is that our boys grow up to be confident, emotionally literate, compassionate, kind, smart, driven, strong, adventurous and well balanced adults. Is that too much to ask? Maybe, we are setting ourselves up for failure by expecting too much from them, but at least we try to instill these types of behaviors. What do you think?
So in an effort to balance out this unofficial behavioral study, I had to find out for what our youngest was grateful. PJ wasn’t around when Parker was telling me this story, so last night I asked PJ the same question, “For what are you most grateful?”. He exclaimed with great emotion “My mom, my dad, my family, my dogs, my home and water.” He continued by telling me a story; “You know, Christiane (his Spanish teacher) told me that when she was little living in Brazil, she had to walk a long way to get water. We are very lucky we can get water right here from our own home!”.
Well, I guess both our boys understand the true meaning of “grateful”, at least at the moment! We are also very proud to be a part of the The Ancona School community that reinforces the power and joy of learning, not just in academics, but in life. Here are a few inspirational photos of what we are thankful for at our house. What are you most grateful for today? Try to appreciate the simple “Chique” pleasures in life, they may just surprise you.