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April 20, 2024

Where Every Family Matters

Teach Your Kids to be Thankful

Occasionally, Managing Editor Michael Aldrich has thoughts and opinions on parenting. He shares them in his column, "Dad Beat."

Dear God, Thank You For …

It’s been said that children make the best philosophers. And on a recent evening while putting our 4-year-old to bed, my wife and I were reminded of that.

We always say a quick bedtime prayer after reading books, but this evening for no reason in particular, my wife asked him, “is mommy going to say a prayer or is Ezra going to say a prayer?” Presented with the option for the first time, he thought for a second and replied, “Ezra.”

Not quite knowing what we were in store for, our four-year-old proceeded to take the pulpit and did not disappoint.

“Dear God, thank you for Mommy, Daddy, Baby Sister, Grandmom, Grammy, Pa,” he began, proceeding to list pretty much everyone in our extended family.

But he didn’t stop there.

“Thank you for red, orange, yellow, green …” He went on to list every color he could think of.

The detour delighted my artist wife and left us both amused — and surprised. It had never really occurred to us to thank God for colors. But why not?

As grownups, it’s easy to take the things we see every day for granted, even the amazing palette of colors that enliven our world beyond the hues of black and white and gray. But on this night, a child’s simple prayer of gratitude reminded us that our world truly is a stunning sight to behold.

It also reminded us of the value of expressing gratitude, not just during the season of Thanksgiving, but every day.

Want to raise a good human being? Teaching them to have a thankful heart is probably a good place to start. Expressing gratitude is foundational to fostering other important virtues in our kids — like sincerity, empathy and humility. It teaches them to look beyond themselves, in addition to helping them feel more connected to the people, places and things around them. It also boosts their spirits and helps them to be more positive.

As for us grownups, we’re listening to our child’s prayers these days with a bit more anticipation, wonder and gratitude. Because we truly are thankful for red, orange, yellow and green, especially during the season of autumn. And each day gives us another opportunity to experience gratitude through the eyes of a child.

What are you thankful for?



About the Author

Michael Aldrich

Michael Aldrich is Nashville Parent's Managing Editor and a Middle Tennessee arts writer. He and his wife, Alison, are the proud parents of 4-year-old Ezra and baby Norah.