Head of School Blog

Teaching Children to Be Grateful and Generous in Our Material World

Head of School: Jill Singleton | Volume: 6 Issue: 7 | October 19, 2016
As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, students and teachers at All Saints are enjoying time reflecting on our Spirituality theme of Abundance and Gratitude. In assembly this week we explored the difference between needs vs. wants. Every time we do this do this exercise, I am amazed at how short the list of actual needs is – four things to be precise:  1) a roof over our heads; 2) enough food and water to maintain our health; 3) basic health care and hygiene products; and 4) clothing (just what we need to remain comfortable and appropriately dressed).

We also talked about the fact that we live in a country where even a person struggling with homelessness has access to three meals per day, thanks to local soup kitchens and other community services. And most of us have a lot more – so much more; most of us enjoy true abundance.
Over the years, parents have expressed concerns about their children becoming “spoiled” as a result of having everything they need and more. Of course not every privileged child is spoiled!  Dr. Jim Taylor, who teaches at the University of San Francisco and specializes in psychology and parenting, distinguishes between privileged children who end up being spoiled and those who do not. “In the former group, the accumulation of wealth is an end in itself. The riches are used for largely selfish purposes, specifically, conspicuous consumption, status, and power. In the latter group, wealth is amassed as a byproduct of passion and hard work, and with a grand purpose in mind based on their most deeply held values; the desire to use that affluence to enrich their lives and for the good of others. This money is used to express values such as education, travel, culture, and philanthropy.”

In Spirituality Assembly today I asked students to reflect on two questions: 1) What are you thankful for?  and 2) How can you share your talents? Fourth Grade East shared their responses with me, below:

I am thankful for:
  • Being able to play sports (Jack)
  • My sister (Abby)
  • The chance to go to a nice school and be able to do activities after school (Lily)
  • My toys (Douglas)
  • The privilege to go to school (Narina)
  • My family and being able to do many things (Liam)
  • My friends, art, music, dance (Kyla)
  • Shelter, food, water, family (Amanda)
  • My brother to play with (Nate)
  • Everything I have (Lara)
  • Close friends (Bella)
  • Life! (Martin)
  • Family and a roof over my head (Arjun)

Ways we can share our talents:
  • Perform at Empty Bowls (Narina)
  • Work on freerice.com (Arjun)
  • Donate to organizations to help animals and people (Lily)
  • Perform to raise money for charities (Lara)
  • Perform at Youth Rocks Out (Amanda)
  • Going to MLK Day (Nate)
  • Donate time (Kyla)
  • Compost to help the Earth (Abby)
  • Spend time and look through toys and books to donate (Bella)
  • Donate money (Liam)

During the upcoming Thanksgiving season, I encourage you to take the time to express your gratitude for the abundance in your lives and talk with your children about the many ways in which their talents can be shared.  The links below can help you learn more about how you can raise happy, generous, grateful children.

http://centerforparentingeducation.org/library-of-articles/indulgence-values/instilling-attitude-gratitude-children/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-power-prime/201102/parenting-how-not-raise-spoiled-brats

http://www.parenting.com/article/raising-a-child-whos-thankful-not-spoiled

Questions? Comments?  Ideas?  I’d love to hear them!  Email me: jsingleton@allsaintsdayschool.org  



Back