Wednesday, November 24, 2010

day 318: preparing kids for thanksgiving get togethers—manners, selflessness, and more part iv

Last installment…honest! Will follow with more recipes and a couple of book reviews. Happy parenting!

6. Remind kids about situations in which deference should be exhibited. (Note: Deference is the act of deferring or putting off what we want for ourselves—like when you “defer” payments for a whole year—you are putting them off. Deferring (or “yielding,” as we also commonly call it here) is desperately needed. Giving up what we want for the good of someone else will get noticed far quicker than quoting Bible verses or praying before our meal (though, again, there is nothing wrong with those things—but when someone gets treated well, he or she takes note!). We have a saying in our family that “Reish children pick up some floor!” This means that when you are in a situation in which there are not enough seats, you should take a seat on the floor. This is especially true with small children, but it’s not at all uncommon for our big teenage boys to be on the floor in many situations. This is one way that we have taught our kids to defer to others in social situations. Other things to consider are allowing others to go first in the food line, taking small portions or none at all of a dish that is almost out or seems to be in short supply, giving up your chair or place at the table, and many more. These are common courtesies that Christians, of all people, should display. When you talk about deference over and over again with your children—pointing out situations in which they can potentially yield their rights to other people, they will begin seeing these situations for themselves eventually.

7. Teach children to be helpful. You have probably heard the saying that 80% of the work in the church is done by 20% of the people—well, the same is often true in families. The same people often host gatherings, and if you have done much hostessing, you know that it is a lot of work. We continued the theme “if you see a need, try to meet it,” in family gatherings. If children can put chairs away, pick up trash, run the vacuum, or dry dishes, they are ready to be helpers! Note that some hosts truly do not like to have children helping/working with them, so we tried to be sensitive to that as well. Again, if children are taught to be helpful at home, they will be more likely to be helpful in other situations.

8. Bring the fun! We like to bring games, holiday videos, yummy carry in dishes (now is not the time to try to get the extended family members to start eating their green veggies!), and more.

As Christians, we should strive to treat others in such a way that people want to have us around—that we are energy givers, not energy zappers. And we should teach our children to do the same.

Grateful for all of our Positive Parenting readers who have made my year of daily writing such a blessing by your encouragement and kind words. God bless your family this Thanksgiving.

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