My View: 5 ways to raise thankful children
November 21st, 2012
04:11 AM ET

My View: 5 ways to raise thankful children

Courtesy National Fatherhood InitiativeBy Vincent DiCaro, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Vincent DiCaro is vice president of development and communication for the National Fatherhood Initiative, where he has worked for more than 10 years to promote involved, responsible and committed fatherhood. He lives in Maryland with his wife and toddler-age son.

(CNN) – I’ll always remember the first time my son spontaneously said, “Thank you,” to me. It was only a few months ago. He has Type 1 diabetes and was having a low blood sugar episode. I brought him his favorite juice to get his blood sugar up, and when I handed him the juice he said, “Thank you, daddy” in his adorable toddler voice.

I melted of course, but I was also grateful that my son was picking up one of the most important character traits he will need as he grows up: thankfulness. But as the father of a 2½-year-old, I can say with confidence that thankfulness does not come naturally to children, mine included.

While my son is starting to say “thank you” on his own, it was only after making him say it over and over again; the first few hundred times he said those magical words, he didn’t even know what they meant. But somehow, he knew what “no” and “mine” meant right away - funny how that works.

So raising thankful children is an uphill battle against the generally selfish tendencies of children. But not all hope is lost. Parenting, like having a good jump shot, is a skill that can be learned through the right techniques and practice.
To get you started, here are five things you can start to do right away that will build a character of thankfulness in your children.

1. Model thankfulness. It is difficult for children to be what they don’t see. Therefore it is critical that you live out thankfulness in your own life.

Say "please," "thanks" and "you're welcome" every day, to your spouse, and in front of your children. There is a saying, “Good manners are not only taught, they are caught." In other words, practice what you preach. Do not just teach your child to say "thank you" and "please" every day and in various situations, but use those words yourself. Thank your children for doing their chores well, or for picking out their clothes in the morning.

But do not fall into the trap of limiting your thanks to actions your kids take; also thank them for being kind, patient, caring or whatever positive character trait you want to nurture in them. As a dad, I make sure my son hears me thanking everyone from waiters at restaurants to his teachers at day care on a regular basis.

2. Teach the “why” behind thankfulness. It is important to help your child understand why it is important to say "thank you." How much you explain will depend on the age of your child, but the point is not simply to dictate thankfulness (“You will say thank you because I said so!”), but to teach your child why being thankful is important.

For example, ask your child how he feels when someone says "thank you" to him. Explain that people like to feel valued and appreciated, so we should help them feel that way as often as possible.

3. Have a daily "thankful" talk. During dinner or in the car driving to an activity, ask each member of the family what they were most thankful for that day. Make asking a daily habit. Taking a moment to reflect on the day will help everyone find something positive, even if it was a tough day. Plus, it will give you extra insight into what's going on in your child's life.

As the parent, be the one always to steer the conversation to the positive side and give encouragement. Remember the objective of this conversation - you are teaching your child to be thankful.

While my own son is still too young to be able to articulate this, I am getting him in the habit of talking about his day in his own simple way (“I played with toys!”) so that as he gets older, the thankful talk will come more naturally to him.

4. Advertise your thankfulness. Hang a dry-erase board in a prominent place in your home and call it "the thankful board." Some companies have a "kudos" board for their employees that provide a great way to create an environment of encouragement and thankfulness.

On your home’s “thankful board,” have your children write messages to say thanks to each other for something big or small. You can also write notes of encouragement to each other, such as “I hope you get an A on your test today.” You can also use the board to broadcast things that your whole family is thankful for, such as “our warm beds that we sleep in every night.”

My toddler, of course, can’t write on a dry-erase board yet, so for now, my wife and I are sticking to modeling thankfulness to him in more conventional ways so that he is ready for when we have our own “thankful board” in our home.

5. Use Thanksgiving as an opportunity to engage in a public display of thankfulness. Thanksgiving can provide you with a perfect opportunity to put your thankfulness to the test. A powerful way to show how thankful you are for what you have is to give some of it to those who have less.

For example, give some of your time at a soup kitchen and serve Thanksgiving dinner to the needy. Or donate turkeys and canned food to a Thanksgiving food drive and participate in distributing the food. Make sure your children see you doing these things. Making your generosity public is a great way to show your children that thankfulness is something to be celebrated, and they will certainly “catch” the satisfaction that comes with helping others.

If you make habits out of these guidelines, you will start to see positive results in your children. And for that, you will most certainly be thankful.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Vincent DiCaro.

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soundoff (97 Responses)
  1. James Mulhern

    Thanksgiving is an excellent way to help students understand that America is about more than consumerism, and to facilitate an awareness of the principles that make our democracy great. Thank you for these ideas.

    James Mulhern, http://www.synthesizingeducation.net

    November 23, 2012 at 7:29 am |
  2. Just call me Lucifer

    My son is still a toddler, but he's already started killing off his classmates in pre-school. My son is the anti-christ, and I can't wait for him to take over his old mans business. Yep... he's gonna lay all your little offspring to waste.

    November 22, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  3. ronjayaz

    I have a simpler solution. Dont have 'em! Remember King Lear's rant: "How like a serpent's tooth to have a thankless child."

    November 22, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  4. Loyal Northern Democrat

    Tell you kids that that when they 18 you and the wife are moving into a 1 bedroom apartment. That will start them preparing for working to pay for any college, know they will have to find a job, and not live at home and have babies until they are 30.

    November 22, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • 2 Teen Father

      This is an excellent piece of information. Both of my teens have part time jobs, had the opportunity to buy a car for school but chose to continue to ride the bus to save money, and have no time with school work and their jobs to get into trouble. They are quite poplular and feel sorry for the freeloaders who "have no grip on life." They are both planning to pay for their college and if they can't get scholarships for their grades, they will work at the college or university they choose. They also will have full freedom in choosing and changing their major field of study since it is their money. The same will go with grades. I am lucky.

      November 22, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Jorge

      Now I know why there are so many elderly Americans who, in spite of having a steady retirement income, end up eating a lonely warmed-over Thanksgiving meal from some catering service in an assisted-living facility or nursing home, with no family wanting to spend any amount of time with them. Their kids will swing by with a token gift or give them a phone call but that's about it. When these folks were young they had kids by design or by accident with no idea being a parent was a lifelong project, and soon discovered that they had no vocation for the job. Some of them buried themselves in their careers, some in activities outside the house, the worst of them were sour parents, using the guise of "tough love" to cover for their inadequacy. They got what they paid for. I may not be rich, but at least I gave my all to my three girls until they no longer needed it (some time after they grew up), and one feature of every Thanksgiving or Christmas reunion is a three-way argument over who gets to keep me when I'm old, to the point where they have convened on paying for my airfare to share me for each's favorite part of the year.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:18 am |
  5. Gary

    I got hooked here this thanksgiving morning and am amazed at how many people on this holiday are in front of their computers gabbing insulting defending each other about politics god black kids in the header photo I see kids not black kids bull the kids are black so what we colorblind now? Get in the kitchen woman and you en get in front of that TV and enjoy if you can, have a beer to relax after getting all riled up on this forum.

    November 22, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • Burbank

      Not everyone has a family to share Thanksgiving with. Did that ever occur to you?

      November 22, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  6. You are hurting this great cause

    Vincent is the VP of development and communication for the National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI), do you see something wrong with this? As a three kids mom who studied parenting issues for a long time I find that this VP position is rather a discredit to the NFI. The cliches in the article doubled by the author's and VP's lack of experience actually hurt this worthy cause. As we live in a melting pot, various cultures have different approaches; often a parent notices that what works for one child doesn't for another (something the author has no way of knowing, since he has just one toddler son). What's even more interesting is that, when kids age and become adults, the most thankful and well behaved ones do not make always the most caring and happy sons and daughters. The short-sighted, cliche views on parenting (like this article), and the delusion of many parents that every small success of their young kids translate to great parenting skills, are the main reasons many parents fail.
    NFI is a great initiative poorly run. VIncent why don't you show you really care about this cause and let people with a broad life perspective, relevant experience and proven record of qualifications to lead the effort. People who are "apprentices" in real life at parenting should have apprentice-type positions in NFI, and avoid posing as advice-giving knowledgeable men.

    November 22, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • Fifi

      I guess you were passed over for the position? Jealousy is oozing from every sentence.

      November 22, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • T

      Jealousy... is a mental cancer.

      November 22, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Just call me Lucifer

      Oh please... I sincerely hope you haven't breeded.

      November 22, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  7. Alpha

    I don't see why the kids, or anyone for that matter, should be thankful, if you leave God out of the picture.

    November 22, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
  8. bad2worse

    #1. Way to raise a child-Throw them out of the house when they're 3 and tell them not to come back until they get out of college and get a job that makes 6 figures plus. Now that's love!

    November 22, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
  9. CAMD

    To 'say "please," "thanks" and "you're welcome" every day, to your spouse, and in front of your children' carries nowhere near the impact of actually saying these things TO your children.

    November 22, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
  10. John

    I'm a school teacher and hopefully a good one. I always go out of my way to say "Please" and "Thank you" to my students and expect that they respond the same way, for me and each other. Since they are in middle school, this can be a real challenge. However, I once viewed a commencement speech by Matt Lauer ( I think) and he stated something that I've always believed. To paraphrase, " The basic foundation of a civilized society has its roots in common courtesy and the simple acts of saying please and thank you. Without it, the common threads of decency are pulled apart and the road to anarchy becomes all too short," It was something akin to that. Hopefully during this holiday we can remember that we Americans are the luckiest people on Earth and despite our differences, we all should try our remember to be courteous to others and be thankful for all of the little things. Thank you for reading my little post.

    November 22, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
  11. Vern Sawyer

    Being thankful is for suckers. I'm all alone today, in poor health, and hungry. There's nothing to be thankful for. For that matter, there's no one to be thankful to, because there's no god and if there were I would curse his name for being a huge baby-killing, cancer-inventing jerk. Any responses to this comment will be thoroughly ignored.

    November 22, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • D. STEWART

      Vern, why write a comment at all if you do not intend to read comments? By the way, God did not commit any of the above-mentioned acts...Man did. Just a thought from one of the believers. I pray things get better for you. Been where you are and kept hope long enough to survive to arrive on the other side of the bad times.

      November 22, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • Cookie

      Vern- You sound like you are in a lot of pain and for that I am sorry. I very much believe in God and I also know that He is a healer, He is a loving and caring God. I pray that you find healing and strength to endure and get through your situation.. Be blessed.

      November 22, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
      • Gary

        Cookie – What is this idea that god is a man? If your god is a man, he has mans ways about him and cannot be fair in his treatment of woman. Or did he create woman to be subservient for the men that he created out of mud?

        November 22, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Scott

      Hey Vern, instead of being insolent, sit down quietly and talk to God and discuss your feelins with Him. Just be honest and tell Him how you feel and what you're thinking. You have to start the discussion before He'll talk back. This is how it is done with any conversation. If I want to talk with someone I have to begin the conversation but unless you start it, He won't do it for you. You have to make the first step. It's called free choice. Once you make the first step, He'll listen and help you out.

      November 22, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
      • Matty

        I may be wrong, but Im pretty sure discussion involves two or more beings speaking to one another. Apart from what is interpreted by followers faith as "signs", having a conversation with God is one sided. I think all are free to believe whatever they want, but lets not kid ourselves – if god is a "healer" then he is pretty picky about who he chooses to heal. So much so that he plays favorites to first world country believers. " I just want to thank god for letting me win these grammys" . Yeah, thats right, god blessed you and passed on the starving child in the desert....

        November 22, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Gary

      Vern, I'm alone today, lonely, have spinal cord nerve damage caused by an accident that has me in chronic pain. I don't see how this relates to god! There is no god as man imagines it to be. God was created in mans image. So, getting god out of the picture, just relax, look at whatever you can find feel or see that makes you feel good and forget about thinking that being alone is some bad thing and be blaming something that does not exist, god in your case. If god does not exist stop blaming him for cancer etc. as you say, this god image

      November 22, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • Jorge

      Vern, I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers to the end that the tide will turn for you, that you will find love, prosperity, health, and above all, peace. May all these things come to you, and the wisdom to appreciate them.

      Dios te bendiga

      November 28, 2012 at 8:28 am |
  12. Fifi

    I was brought up to say please and thank you and never cross my parents, or any adult. Respect was paramount. I was taught never to question the authority of priests and nuns at school, or my aunts and uncles. I was taught to be quiet and polite. Be grateful for all I had. Then one of the parents I was taught to respect without question became my abuser - daily verbal and emotional abuse. Soul killing. That set me up for accepting less than I deserve in relationships, and in life. It took away my capacity to feel joy. It broke me. You can and should raise a child to be polite, and to respect others. But if you do not respect your children and do not teach them - show them - that respect goes two ways, you will be doing nothing more or less than killing their spirt. The parents featured on CNN's homepage today, shown forcing their daughter to hold a demeaning sign on a busy street corner, are stoking the girl's already existing anger and resentment toward her mom and dad. They are destroying any trust she has left in her. That anger and dustrust will bleed into the girl's future relationships. Respect brings respect. It's so much more than just please and thank you.

    November 22, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • No Fool

      You make a very important point Fifi. Respect is one thing that must be earned. I was always mindful of that when raising my kids. Your children are fortunate to have a parent like you.

      November 22, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
      • No Fool

        Not everything I just said has already been said here by me before. (Except in my books! You ought to read them! Fat chance!) Even if that were true and it is not, my statement badly needs to be made again and again. Shame on you for suppressing a badly needed truth. Some day, it will all be clear to all thinking minds.

        November 22, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  13. steve

    Another way to show thankfulness is to spend the day together and especially do not go shopping.

    November 22, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • Ash

      We're spending the day together and we'll go shopping tonight as a family, together. We need clothes and shoes and there's nothing wrong with buying my kids a few Christmas gifts. I can get some real bargains tonight, so I choose to go shopping. Doesn't make me a bad person or less thankful for what I have.

      November 22, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • Debbie

      Good point...spend time at home with family and friends, they won't always be around. But stores will be.

      November 22, 2012 at 11:04 am |
  14. ldavid69

    He did this article without religion. I am very impressed.

    November 22, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • Black Bart

      Simple things impress simple minds.

      November 22, 2012 at 10:12 am |
      • Hans

        Trolls come out of their caves even at Thanksgiving. It's too bad, they spoil it for the rest of us. But, this is what trolls do. This one thinks not mentioning religion is simple-minded. But, he's a troll. So, everything appears like an easily answered question to him. Have you noticed how people actually are what hey accuse others of being?

        November 22, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • Genn

      Yes! We need not be religious to be thankful for the things that make our lives happy. Thanksgiving is a day to reflect on what right with our lives; we spend too much time worrying about what wrong. It's one day of the year where we can just relax and celebrate all that's good.

      November 22, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • Debbie

      In all things, give glory to God. You may persecute me with your words about religion on Thanksgiving, but I know I am a better person with God in my thoughts every minute of every day.

      November 22, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • ldavid69

      If I were simple minded, I would allow myself to be brainwashed by my society to believe in unproven external influence. I bet you are the guy that would believe the world was flat or that the sun revolved around the earth , because most people believed that. By the way , your judgmental post only helps prove the hatred that comes out of religion. Happy Thanksgiving anyway.

      November 22, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • Gary

      idavid – yes this was a good thing – no religion or god talk. Good.

      November 22, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  15. LeighVA

    Aw, that was such a sweet article! Children should be taught to be respectful and polite to others ~ and it is mainly the parents' responsibility to do this, although teachers throughout their lives can also model the behavior. And we all should be Thankful that we have made it even this far, given no doubt, how precarious life can be. God bless you all and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!

    November 22, 2012 at 9:53 am |
  16. PhilG.

    1.Beat the crap out of them

    2.Beat the crap out of them

    3.beat the crap out of them

    4.Beat the crap out of them

    5.And tell they you beat the crap out of them

    Spare the rod,raise a spoiled axx brat we have to pay to get through our court system.

    November 22, 2012 at 9:34 am |
    • JD

      Wow .... beyond help?

      November 22, 2012 at 10:41 am |
      • Ash

        I wouldn't say he is beyond help. He's a troll trying to evoke a response. Didn't get enough attention or affection as a kid and now in desperate need of attention as an adult. It doesn't matter if the response is positive or negative at this point – he just wants someone to respond. I hope he finds the love and attention he's seeking this Thanksgiving.

        November 22, 2012 at 10:58 am |
      • j0eschm0e

        Ash, LOL and you played right into it

        November 22, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • Hans

      The scripture is a command – "spare the rod! Spoil the child!" the actual command, though, is to love your children. They are to honor (not love) you. How beating the crap out of them demonstrates love is something you'll need to work out for yourself . . . in therapy.

      November 22, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • j0eschm0e

      LOL dont you know sarcasm when you see it?( to the replyers)

      November 22, 2012 at 11:04 am |
  17. Doris

    Teach your children good manners so that they can give you peace of mind when they are adults.

    November 22, 2012 at 9:28 am |
  18. Scribs

    'Thank you' is not about just saying the words which as the author pointed out becomes just a point of social behavior at some point. My daughter and I read the news together the other day and she spoke about how thankful she was to live here – where we are live in a place free of the worry of being bombed and where heat and electricity are the norm. And where even though half the nation didn't get the president they got at least they were able to make their voices heard (and are still being heard). Where she can go to school without fearing for her life and choose to marry whom she pleases without her parents hurting her (although her dad reserves the right to thoughly 'discuss' the future with the boy at that time). And of course she is lucky enough to live in a place where she can choose a girl instead of a boy. And I am thankful for having such a smart kid who isn't groaning too much that I just asked her to unload the dishes.

    November 22, 2012 at 8:42 am |
    • Fifi

      Scribs, I live in one of those "lip-service-Liberal" communities where people love to constantly condemn the US as everything evil, while they enjoy all the benefits of living as American citizens. It makes me livid when my yoga teacher spews hate against her country, complains about the prohibitive cost of health care (she chooses not to have an on-the-books job, hence no employer-provided health coverage, and she will not pay for insurance herself because she thinks it should be free). I hear this rubbish all the time. It's ig norant...and deeply disrespectful.

      November 22, 2012 at 11:25 am |
  19. Christopher Dycha

    Being thankful is rooted in humility. It is the little things that show a person's true colors and we can't get enough practice in being thankful. Another good idea to encourage these traits is for parents to teach their children the importance of writing and mailing a thank you card. In this electronic generation, it is becoming a lost art. Christopher Dycha

    November 22, 2012 at 7:38 am |
    • Momofalmost2

      That is so true. All of it. My son will be "writing" his birthday thank you cards by doodling on what his parents write (he's 2). and he's said thank you for the better part of a year, without much prompting. please, that's a different story, but we're working on that too. Manners are really critical to demonstrating appreciation of others. Thanks everyone for being good to each other.

      November 22, 2012 at 11:18 am |
  20. mm

    Make them be thankful for what they have and quit giving your kids everything. They need to earn it themselves.

    November 21, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
  21. Fred May Sr

    I learned at an early age to say Thank You. The principal at school had a habit of asking " What do you say when someone does something for you". At my first job the shop foreman always ask you if you would something. That is where I learned to be courteous to my fellow man. I today say thank you to any one who does something for me no matter how big or small. It seems that the younger generation seems to think they are owed everything.

    November 21, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
  22. tehdpr

    This is an odd article.

    I, myself, was told often to be thankful at home and in church growing up, but I have little idea of what people mean when they say it. It's a very unhelpful word. I'm still not sure that I've ever been it.

    I've appreciated kindness that was shown to me, knowing that a person's effort to be kind was a wonderful thing, especially as a reminder of how good and generous and honestly well-meaning people can be. I've appreciated a person's presence in my life because they make it better.

    After having been unable to afford many of life's necessities for extended periods of time, seen and been around many homeless and impoverished people, I've become exceedingly grateful (and relieved) to be able to afford the day-to-days, and little luxuries, and to help others, if even a little.

    After having and seeing many difficulties in life, I've found the relief of those difficulties to be a welcome relief. I have not liked much of what life has thrown at me or left me with, but I am glad that I have a profound appreciation for much of what I do have because of what I've seen and been through.

    I think that is what people are trying to mean when they say "thankful," but I've always found it a very poorly defined word.

    At any rate, it shouldn't have been coupled in this article with teaching children courtesy, manners or respecting other human beings as your equals. Those are all very good things, but they are not thankfulness.

    And teaching children to say thank you so that other people feel valued because they like to feel that way is... insane. Saying thank you to others is a recognition of someone else value, or the value of their efforts. Teaching someone to thank another person so that the other person feels good about themselves is kind of missing the entire point of this article isn't it?

    The article also makes the huge mistake of preaching optimism. If you want to fully appreciate your experience in this life, you have to come to terms with, see, experience and share the good and bad. It's just as important to share your gripes and problems with one another, and to rebuke and make amends, as it is to share what makes you happy and to be courteous. Too much of either and you're poisoning the well.

    I also completely fail to see how you'll be able to gain insight into your child's life if, while in discourse with them, you're trying to steer the conversation so that they learn something. In order to gain insight, you'll need to hear it all, and really hear it. I can't imagine you'll be listening for anything other than a positive tone if you're trying to steer them towards talking about what makes them happy, as the article suggests.

    Either way, happy Turkey Day. If you have the experience and understanding to be grateful, or the innocence to not need it, be blessed. And if you don't, be extra blessed.

    November 21, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • j0eschm0e

      I think you have missed the whole point as well.

      November 22, 2012 at 11:09 am |
  23. Melissa

    Here's an idea... DO NOT raise them to be republican. Then you will have children that are thankful.

    November 21, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • Fox

      Seriously, what do you base this on. Half of America is not thankful because they are republican? People who don't share your political views are not your enemies. Americans need to stop the divisiveness.

      November 21, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • lorraine

      Thank God for democrats...otherwise, I might not realize how thankful I am to be a republican.

      November 21, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
      • Daniel

        Ask, what you can do for the country – JFK 20th Century Democrat
        Ask, what your country can do for you – Obama (Care) 21st Century Democrat

        November 22, 2012 at 12:26 am |
    • mike

      Your comment degenerated a good subject into a nonsensical political squabble that misses all the points.

      November 22, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • Bill

      Melissa - I totally agree with Mike, and I'm a registered Democrat. To turn being thankful into a political issue loses the complete meaning of the article, and short minded. It gets tiring to label every issue to politics, especially since the last election was only 3 weeks ago...need to give it a rest.

      November 22, 2012 at 10:02 am |
  24. Beekermeepmeep

    Why is CNN kissing the collective butt of religion.

    November 21, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • ameeholvi

      Because they have kissed the collective butt of liberals for so long, they had to even it out, and are you not thankful for anything??

      November 21, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
      • dustymack

        I'm thankful that i don't need a church or a congregation of people to tell me how to live my life! I'm also thankful that Mitt Romney isn't president...

        You asked!

        November 21, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
      • No Fool

        There is a most important connection to be made between kissing "the collective butt of religion" and kissing "the collective butt of Liberalism" and/or Political Correctness. (as those word s are misused and misunderstood these days). The tacit alliance of those two Butts is what runs most of the world today. Have you noticed how these two expressions hark back to the peddling and dictatorship-prone myth of original sin, a myth that is used every day in more or less sneaky ways to convince us of our guilt and thus manipulate us and force us to pay for all the misery in the world. On one side we thus have Calculated Charities of Caclutta and Elsewhee peddling away everything good that is the work of the West and, on the other side, since 622, the same goal of conquest of the entire world BUT or may I say BUTT, witout the inhibitions of the "guilt-addled West." Let us note that the latter "religion of peace" kept the Virgin Mary, a few angels of Christian theology and of course, the devil and hell when it seceded from the union. (To prevent for ever a rebellion of its slaves – the women) BUTT that it did not keep the myth of universal, original sin, leaving it and its everlasting demands for suckers and "dhimmis" only. Of course, they did not keep that. They weren't that dumb.

        November 22, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • ameeholvi

      lol, dustymack glad you are thankful for something.

      November 21, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • Thoughtful Sally

      Who said anything about religion?

      November 21, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
  25. Matthew

    I can still remember when I was a young man and my older colleagues would complain about young people being too free with parenting advice. Now that I'm old, I understand what they were talking about. As soon as this page loaded and I say the photo of the author I smiled and chuckled aloud. What happened to wisdom born of experience?
    His suggestions aren’t too bad. When I was growing up, the “thankful” discussion at the dinner table started with the blessing on the food. The opportunity to “say” the meal-time prayer was rotated and we each had opportunities to be the communal voice for our family expressing our thanks to God.
    The one caveat I would like to add is that we must be careful that we don’t let an abundance of outward “shows” of thankfulness supplant the inward state-of-being that is true thankfulness.
    "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. " Timothy Chapter 3, Verse 5

    November 21, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
  26. Pippa

    Thanks, but no thanks!

    November 21, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
  27. chicken 1

    you are smart chicken

    November 21, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
  28. Mike

    As a type 1 adult diabetic thanks to the parents who look after these children. It's scary for anyone, but it takes a real mensch to understand and treat a hypo.

    November 21, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
  29. Tom

    Vincent – we've had that exact experience with our 2 year-old toddler with Type 1!

    November 21, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  30. A. Rae

    I've always told my kids that almost any sentence can be ended with "...please". And, because I'm polite AND cynical, that you can get away with almost anything as long as you are polite while you do it!

    November 21, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  31. sybaris

    6. Don't buy them half of Toys-R-Us by the time they're 6

    November 21, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  32. pete

    Haha - photo shows african american children - are these the author's adopted children? Or is this subtle racism

    November 21, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Kelsey

      I'm thankful that I don't know you because the last thing I want is a racist jerk in my life.

      November 21, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • Kalybe

      All I saw was a picture of children. We all need to look beyond the color instead of looking for hidden agendas.

      November 21, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • ameeholvi

      Why would you even notice that? I thought it was a very interesting article and was talking about MANNERS, maybe you need to learn some from these children.

      November 21, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • Adriene

      I thought it was a sweet picture. I didn't see "BLACK" children, I saw sweet, thankful children.

      November 22, 2012 at 12:47 am |
  33. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    I admire children and young adults who have obviously been taught by their parents proper etiquette. It's always been my belief that a child should be raised in a manner that anyone would be willing to care for the child if for God's reason you are no longer around. Nobody likes a child who isn't well mannered.

    November 21, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  34. Maxii

    My family still takes the time to compose hand-written thank you notes. Anytime my child receives a gift it is required that they write a note of thanks to the giver. Even my mother writes me a note of thanks for my hospitality when she spends the night or when I host Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. I have a hand-written note from my grandmother who when in her 90's said thank you for a check. Handing down this tradition causes each of my girls to pause and think about the appropriate way to express thanks. Oh yeah. ..... they also feed the hungry at soup kitchens twice a year.

    November 21, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • draviele

      Our girls were required to write their thank you notes before they could play with a toy or spend any money received. As a result, now that they are in their 30s, their thank you notes go out immediately! Sadly, many people comment to me how lovely it is to get thank yous so promptly, because so often thoughtfulness and generosity go unnoticed and "unthanked". Now we're expecting our first grandchild and I know the tradition will continue.

      November 21, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  35. Mr. Noodle

    I'm thankful for knowing all you!

    November 21, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
  36. maryinthemiddle

    Fantastic article! However, I would like to add that volunteering at a soup kitchen can be done at any time of the year, not just the holidays. Sure, that makes it seem more meaningful, but a year 'round effort shows a more genuine thanks and appreciation for all that one has. Offer to read to foster children for an hour, spend time at a local nursing home with a senior who would just like some company. There are many ways to show thankfulness and appreciation throughout the year.

    November 21, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
  37. Tami Schaff

    Great article! So true that parents have to model thankfulness to their children. I especially like the reminders to help out soup kitchens and to donate food to food banks. Another great teaching tool is for older children to watch the movie "In Pursuit of Happyness". I watched that movie with my children the other night and they have a new appreciation for all they have. I think we'll watch that movie year after year.

    November 21, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
  38. luebla

    Children do learn by example-when as a parent they hear you use common courtesy in your everyday life-they probably will too. We are living in some trying times-& alot of the negativity was learned at home. There are also some ignorant, selfish & evil people in this world-that just don't care.

    November 21, 2012 at 11:57 am |
  39. nuketim

    There IS a 6th way: DON'T HAVE KIDS.

    That was my strategy; and it worked well for me....

    November 21, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • Valerie

      That's nice............you DO realize they do not stay small forever don't you?

      November 21, 2012 at 11:45 am |
      • MrsFizzy

        I hear the first 40 years are the most difficult.

        November 21, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • Pam

      yes, nuketim, we are also thankful you made that choice. lol

      November 21, 2012 at 11:45 am |
      • Esther

        Lol Pam...that was precious :-)

        November 21, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
  40. conrad

    It may seem unlikely, but my daughter's first words meaningfully used in context were 'thank-you'. The first time she said it I almost didn't believe it, but then she said it again the next day. She said it as I reached over to help her pick up a toy she dropped. She wasn't walking well yet so it was hard for her to bend over and get things. When she said it, I realized that we constantly said thank-you in the house, to each other and to her. On her 18 month doctor's visit the doctor asked if she was talking much yet and I indicated that she was using a decent amount of words for her age, but she refused to say anything for the doctor. Then the doctor gave her a little toy and she spontaneously said, "Thank-you". And the doctor laughed, saying Wow that's cute!

    November 21, 2012 at 11:12 am |
  41. Parent

    So true, and glad you acknowledge that thankfulness is taught, not inheritied. Adults and parents must show the way. Not have I always taught my 5 kids thier manners, but I've also told them that if they want to be "cool"; take a long hard look at those considered "cool" by socieity. The "cool" people are just that cool, calm, non violent, mannered , classy people. To find someone with all of these traits, you walk away with the thought that "that person is cool". Starts with teaching kids please and thank you. Bravo! Happy Thankgiving!

    November 21, 2012 at 10:44 am |
  42. Stefanie

    Beautiful story and I too have two wonderful sons - both are sweet, kind and generous young men now. They both attend college and have always been very thankful children... They both accompanied me to Haiti after the earthquake, to volunteer and I remember the day they both sat me down in my tent and simply said, "thank you mom (and dad) for everything you do for us." They have always said thank you, throughout their lives and this time was different. We are still in Haiti - although they are off to college most of the time now and their experiences have certainly helped them grow as thankful men. Happy Thanksgiving and thank you for the sweet reminder.

    November 21, 2012 at 10:30 am |
  43. Jose

    No thanks.

    November 21, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • Grannybird

      I'm sad for you, Jose.

      November 21, 2012 at 11:01 am |
  44. Valerie

    These are all great suggestions. I have two teenage sons, one will be off to college next year and the other one following a year later, I absolutely agree that children learn and carry on the examples they are shown on a consistent basis so all of us parents must always be mindful of what we say, and WHAT WE DO. Nice article and timely for Thanksgiving! : )

    November 21, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • Doodlebug

      It's interesting you say that. Every time I buy groceries my daughters thank me. I asked them why and they say "well when we sit to eat we thank God, so it only seems nature to thank you also (since I work for the groceries)".

      November 21, 2012 at 4:52 pm |