Grateful Monday ~ Healthy, Abundant Food
For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
As parents we naturally want our children to be grateful for what they have. However, living in a privileged society it may be understandably challenging for children to wrap their heads around gratitude for things they simply take for granted…like plentiful food, clean water, abundant clothing and cozy shelters.
As we head into the holidays we are surrounded with food (some healthy, some not so much…) at every turn, treats, feasts, baking, parties, there seems to be no end to the amount of food available to us. Most of us, that is. So the question begs, how do we help our children know the pain and fear and shame of hunger without actually withholding food?
Reading and telling stories about these topics is a great place to start… through storytelling and rich characters children can sneak a peek into the lives of others and can connect and empathize in a way that preaching will never accomplish.
Here is a good one…
Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen by DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan (Ages 4-8) http://amzn.to/17YHmxC
One of the stories my mother told us growing up (and now my kids) was how her class- mates would eat lunch at school but she would walk home because all they had to eat were turnips, fried, boiled, you name it, just turnips. She was too embarrassed to have friends over, or to bring such a meager lunch for everyone to see, so she would slip away, trying not to draw attention to herself. It still breaks my heart every time I hear it.
Acts of service are another way to help children become mindful of the plight of the hungry in our community. There are so many ways to do this… anonymously leaving a grocery store gift card for someone you know is struggling, passing out restaurant gift cards to the homeless, volunteering with Meals on Wheels or local community or church food banks… opportunities for service abound this time of year.
A Kids’ Guide to Hunger & Homelessness: How to Take Action! by Cathryn Berger Kaye M.A. (Ages 12+) http://amzn.to/1hyYqQV
This season I am definitely grateful for food. We are beyond blessed here on the Central Coast with year round, fresh produce and an abundance of farmer’s markets, CSA’s and a variety of well stocked grocery stores. That is something to give thanks for at least three times a day!
How do you teach your kids about hunger and helping others in need? Share your stories, experiences and great ideas with us!