In my research to discover whether gratitude is a universal emotion, I came across a keen description of the virtue of gratitude, or grateful living, in which it is characterized as an invaluable global ethic of our time.
I completely agree with this assessment and I believe strongly that thankfulness and appreciation is something we, as parents, have an obligation to pass down to our children to help them achieve their highest potential and live their best lives.
Gratitude transcends cultures and religions and is therefore a vital component of a global education curriculum. Understanding the importance of gratitude and how it connects the world politically, culturally, economically, and ecologically will help children to obtain the skills, knowledge and the perspective to become good global citizens.
To read more about gratitude as a global ethic, check out Gratefulness.org. A few insightful excerpts from the site:
- Grateful living is a universal ethic capable of ushering us peacefully into a new era in which we must share the world’s resources fairly and conserve the environment for future generations.
- The universal sentiment of gratefulness is shared by all cultures and religious traditions.
- In the same way, it provides a common language for dialogue between religious people and non-religious people, since both religious and non-religious people can deeply appreciate the value of gratitude.
- Gratitude causes us to regard other peoples and cultures as blessings and not as threats to our way of life.
A wonderful way to teach kids the concept that gratitude is global is to share with them stories from around the world about the importance of thankfulness.
Here are a few great multicultural books about gratitude:
Erandi’s Braids by Tomie dePaola
Erandi is a little girl living in Mexico where she faces hardships of Mexican life in the 1950s. The story illustrates the personal sacrifices the poor often have to make to survive. As the story unfolds, Erandi learns the true value of giving to others.
Duck for Turkey Day by Jacqueline Jules
This is a heartwarming Thanksgiving-themed book which demonstrates the fact that although families of different cultures celebrate holidays in different ways, they all share something in common – wonderful family celebrations.
Rubber Shoes… a lesson in gratitude, Los zapatos de goma… una lección de gratitud by Gladys Elizabeth Barbieri
This is a bilingual book written in Spanish and English. The story focuses on a simple, yet powerful life lesson about being grateful for what you have. The main character in the book is amazed when her mother donates her “ugly” shoes to another little girl who is overwhelmed with joy and gratitude when she receives the shoes.
In addition to reading holiday books, my family loves to do crafts as part of our celebrations, and Thanksgiving is no exception. Here is a great Pinterest board featuring gratitude crafts like the one we did, pictured in the top photo.
Crafting together provides a good opportunity for you and your child to have a meaningful discussion about thankfulness and appreciation.
As we celebrate our important harvest festival, Thanksgiving, this week, we can teach our global kids to be mindful of the fact that other cultures also rejoice and show their gratitude in agriculturally-based holidays and festivals in countries all over the world. Click here for information on harvest festivals around the globe.