A recent article in the New York Times, suggests that parents who want to teach their children to be giving should begin by teaching them how much they have been given. Once children understand where they came from and recognize the people who helped them get there, they begin to appreciate what they have and to want to give themselves. As Thanksgiving draws near, this is the ideal time to share with children and loved ones your stories of receiving help and to thank those who have helped you.
Especially as you gather with your senior loved ones, Thanksgiving provides the ideal setting for saying thank you and sharing experiences. To help you express your love and thanks this week, here are a few ideas of what you can do for the seniors in your life:
- Listen to them. Seniors have an abundance of wisdom to share and stories to tell. Take a moment to sit down with them and start a conversation. You may even want to join StoryCorps who is providing a free app to help people record and share their family stories this Thanksgiving.
- Give them a note or letter. Though written letters are a fading art form, take the time to write a simple thank you note or sincere letter.
- Tell them. Your expression of gratitude doesn’t need to be elaborate in order to be meaningful. Simply telling loved ones that you’re grateful for them is often enough for them to feel loved and appreciated.
- Serve them. If you’re already at your grandparents’ house, look around for ways to help them out. Rake their leaves or wash the dishes, any small act of service will do.
- Take a picture. For many families, getting everyone together is rare and special. Document the moment with a picture and send it to your loved one.
- Call them. Especially if you can’t be with them in person, calling or Skyping family and friends can help them to feel loved even though you’re far away.
- Make them something they like. Whether it’s a pie, a card, or a poem, use your talents to make them something they enjoy.
- Use social media. If your senior loved ones use social media, share a photo with them or send a message expressing your thanks. Your friends and family may even join in to share in the love.
- Make a video. Making a short video on your phone is a simple way to say thanks. You can record yourself or get the entire family involved with each person taking a few moments to express love and gratitude.
- Give them your undivided attention. It’s rare in our technology-dominated world to see people without a phone in hand. Giving loved ones your uninterrupted attention is a simple way to show them they’re important to you.