What Children Can Teach Us At Thanksgiving



If you’ve ever seen the television series, Inside The Actor’s Studio, you know that at the end of the show, the actor or actress being showcased will be asked a series of 10 clever questions that help the audience see more of the guest’s candid side. These 10 questions originally came from a French series, “Bouillon de Culture” hosted by Bernard Pivot.

That’s my favorite part of the show. I’ve noticed that many of the actors, when asked “What sound or noise do you love?” answer, “The sound of my children laughing.” I would have to whole-heartedly agree with that. There’s nothing more thrilling and happy than a child’s giggle.

Children keep us grounded. We teach them how to become independent adults and they teach us how precious life is. They illustrate for us what it means to appreciate, enjoy, and forgive.

I love watching my children grow up. For my youngest daughter, everything is “awesome!” Her dinner was awesome! Getting braces was awesome! She’s had several sufferings in her life already, but things are still always awesome! She, like all my childen, has an intense love for life that keeps us all smiling and brings joy to us particularly during the very difficult times.

In the years I have been working with divorced men and women, I have seen the terrible heartache their children suffer through and have always felt a certain sense of gratitude that I didn’t have to drag children through my own bitter divorce. Yet, it never fails that every time I say to a single parent, “I can’t imagine going through a divorce with children,” the person I’m speaking with replies, “I can’t imagine going through it without them!”

If you are divorced, you have circumstances that might make it difficult to feel appreciative or thankful. Many people have lost their homes, friends, and financial security due to divorce and trying to put a smile on their faces for a family get-together can seem like a particularly harsh punishment. This is a perfect time to look to children for the wisdom they can impart.

Kids are great examples of what it means to fail and recover. They fall off their bikes, cry over their scraped knees or elbows and then get back on their bikes and ride with a fury. They get scolded for something they did wrong and two minutes later give you a hug and run off and play. They don’t hold grudges and they don’t want to be mired down in sorrow, they just want to play and laugh.

When was the last time you played and laughed? How many grudges are you holding against others? Did you get back on your bike and ride with a fury?

It’s so easy to take note of what you’ve lost or what’s missing or what you don’t have. I encourage you to do a short exercise before you go to your family gathering today. Sit down and make a list of the good things in your life, beginning with “I woke up today and can breathe” and go from there.

It’s only by the grace of God that we live each moment, and by His grace we have opportunities to fail, pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off, and keep going. Thank God for His grace in your life and as you make your list, remember these words from sacred scripture:

And now, bless the God of all,
who has done wondrous things on earth;
Who fosters people’s growth from their mother’s womb,
and fashions them according to his will!
May he grant you joy of heart
and may peace abide among you (Sirach 50: 22 – 23).



  1. Ginny-918551 November 22, 2012 Reply

    God bless you abundantly and your family. Happy Thanksgiving for the blessing of family, friends, job/financial independent, home, and most especially Love of our Living God.

    In this trouble times we are faced and aware of/with raising children who are teen, abused, and addicted single parents. Also a country that is offended so easily by not acknowledging God and Christmas, even as Catholics we have become astray to his wonderful Heavenly gifts.

    Please pray or light candle for reconciliation to sanctity on our difficult journey home – children of God and vocations.

  2. Alice-788574 November 23, 2012 Reply

    Yes, I got up and rode my bike with a fury.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

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