When the crisp fall mornings make us think of turkey and mashed potatoes, our thoughts also turn to giving thanks. Being thankful for what we have is a healthy and beneficial attitude, so why is so far from most of our minds for the rest of the year?
With the following ideas for giving thanks, you can encourage your students, and perhaps yourself, to be thankful on more than just the fourth Thursday in November.
How to Give Thanks This November
Write A Short Note
Encourage your students to tell their friends and family how much they mean to them by writing a short note of thanks and appreciation. In the note, your students should say why they are appreciative of that person and how he has affected their lives.
None of us would be here if it were not for the generations who came before us, bringing us life and freedom. You and your class can show thanks to the more mature generations by volunteering some time in a retirement home. Senior citizens will be charmed by a program that your students put on which includes music, acting or other talents. Take some time after the performance to talk to the residents and let them share some life stories. If you like, your students may want to write about their experiences in the retirement home, and you can compile these stories into two copies of a class book – one for you and one for the retirement home.
Get Out Of The Classroom
Get out of the classroom for some communing with nature as the autumn air turns crisp. After spending some time in the quiet and calm of fall, gather your students and ask each person to share something for which they are thankful in the natural world. If you are near a location with vibrantly colored trees or scenic beauty, you may want to give your students some time to walk, hike or otherwise explore the world around them before your time of sharing.
Think About Your Health
It is easy to overlook our health when we have no major problems, but each day we live is a day to be thankful for. Challenge your students to show thankfulness for their healthy bodies by doing something nice for the skin in which they live. That may be organizing and participating in a 5K, pampering your skin, watching what you eat, or doing some other activity which brings greater health to your body!
Keep A Thankfulness Journal
You can help your students raise their awareness of how much they have to be thankful for by encouraging them to keep a thankfulness journal. For each day in the month of November, challenge your students to list three things for which they are thankful. By the end of the month, they will be able to read back on their lists and realize that they have a great number of things for which to be thankful.
Though it is not always easy, human beings show resilience and strength in their ability to forgive others who have hurt them. Your students can show thankfulness for this amazing capacity of the human spirit by choosing to forgive someone this November. Whether it was as small as being forced out of a seat on the subway or as large as being betrayed by a friend, if you and your students make the choice to forgive someone, you will reap more benefits than you can realize.
When we get in the habit of thinking beyond ourselves, we begin to see all the good that others around us are doing. Help your class show appreciation for organizations committed to the greater good by making a donation this November. Your class can host a food drive for local food banks that are always in need of extra food for the holidays. Simply place a large box in a public area with a sign explaining the food drive and then deliver the donations to the food bank.
Volunteering is a great way to give of ourselves and show thankfulness for the ones we serve. You can inspire your students to show thanks to the people around them by providing the opportunity for volunteer service. By arranging rides to or details about an organization in need, your students will be more willing to commit time and energy to serving a cause!
Thank The World
With all the damage that the earth sustains, we are lucky she is in such good condition. Help your students show thankfulness for the world around them with some eco-service. This may mean doing some recycling, planting trees or picking up litter on the side of the road. Whatever it is, know that through our acts of global kindness, future generations will also have the earth for which to be thankful.
One of the greatest things we can do to show our thankfulness for the loved ones around us is by speaking truthfully. By meaning what we say and saying what we mean we respect and honor the people who love us and therefore show that we are thankful for the role they play in our lives. Be intentional this year about speaking truthfully to the ones around you, and both of you will reap the benefits!
November does not have to be the only time in our lives that we give thanks, but it can be the starting point for a change in attitude.
Through these small measures, you and your students can come to appreciate the world around you and express your thankfulness for it.