Maren Schmidt: Expressing an attitude of gratitude

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Maren Schmidt, Kids Talk

Maren Schmidt's "Kids Talk" column appears Tuesdays in the Craig Daily Press.

Being able to express thankfulness to one another is an important skill to develop. Having an attitude of gratitude keeps us open to possibilities and able to visualize positive steps in a forward direction.

Here are some holiday ideas to help your family appreciate one another.

Make a thank you tree. Place a branch, whatever size you like, in a vase or pot. Cut out shapes from construction or colored paper, punch a hole in the top and slip ribbon or yarn through the hole to make a hanger. Have each family member write things they are thankful for on the tags and place on the tree.

Make a thank you treasure chest. A friend kept a pretty box on her kitchen desk that had “Riches” written across the front. The box was filled with slips of paper that family members deposited. Each slip of paper was a personal thank you for someone or something. These were not shared, but stood as a daily remembrance, year round, that no matter what, her family always had something to be thankful for, and the box filled with folded papers provided visible proof.

Fill your refrigerator door. A teaching friend, who is queen of the bulletin board, used leaf-shaped sticky notes in fall colors for her family (and students) to write thank you notes. Her refrigerator at home was covered with notes and at school her bulletin board tree was filled with thankful thoughts.

John Gottman in his book, “The Relationship Cure,” lists these qualities to praise and appreciate in those around you. Perhaps these words will help you express an attitude of gratitude and make Thanksgiving a 365-day a year event.

Loving, sensitive, brave, intelligent, thoughtful, generous, loyal, honest, strong, energetic, decisive, creative, imaginative, fun, attractive, interesting, supportive, funny, considerate, affectionate, organized, resourceful, athletic, cheerful, coordinated, graceful, elegant, gracious, playful, caring, a real friend, exciting, thrifty, full of plans, shy, vulnerable, committed, involved, expressive, active, careful, reserved, adventurous, receptive, reliable, responsible, dependable, nurturing, warm, kind, gentle, practical, witty, relaxed, beautiful, handsome, calm, lively, assertive, protective, sweet, tender, powerful, flexible, understanding, totally silly and zany.

Relationships thrive on five bits of appreciation per day. May every day be a day of giving thanks for you and yours.

Kids Talk TM deals with childhood development issues. Maren Schmidt founded a Montessori school and holds a Masters of Education from Loyola College in Maryland. She has more than 25 years’ experience working with children and holds teaching credentials from the Association Montessori Internationale. She is author of Building Cathedrals Not Walls: Essays for Parents and Teachers. Contact her at maren@kidstalknews.com or visit www.MarenSchmidt.com. Copyright 2009.

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