This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast we have a special replay of a popular Thanksgiving episode: How to be more thankful this year! This post is running concurrently on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.
Gratitude is important, whether it is Thanksgiving time or not. In this episode, Sabrina, Vicki and Kym are together to talk about gratitude and how to be more thankful!
Thankfulness is a healthy life skill for homeschool high schoolers (and their parents) to learn and practice. So let’s get started:
We are thankful to you, all our 7th Sisters and 7th Siblings. (Who are our 7th Sisters? Well, there are six of us 7Sisters: Sabrina, Vicki, Kym, Allison, Marilyn and Sara. That means YOU are our 7th Sisters…or 7th Siblings for you dads out there.)
Max Lucado says in his book, Anxious for Nothing, that teenagers’ average levels of anxiety are comparable to the anxiety of people who were in inpatient mental health programs in the 1950s. Did you catch that? That is shocking information- so much pain for folks in America these days.
Why is life so stressful these days?
Our fast-paced, photoshopped, achievement oriented culture has put a lot of pressure on teens, such as;
- Social media shows a picture perfect world
- Pressures from the digital sphere often push teens to feel they need to live as if everything is an “event” requiring:
- FOMO (in case you forgot: Fear of Missing Out
- We live in a high performance world that expects teens to achieve, achieve, achieve
- Also, these days, the covid pandemic and other crises
What to to help our teens and ourselves feel less stress and anxiety?
We need to learn gratitude! The University of California’s Greater Good Science Center has studied things that make people feel better. They have found that people who practice written gratitude tend to improve in mood and health.
One study that Greater Good Science Center did found that people who did a written gratitude list experienced:
- Improvement in anxiety and depression levels
- Fewer sick visits to the doctor
- Observable change in one of the brain’s calm-down centers
Imagine that! Science and research catches up with Scripture. We know that Scripture has been reminding us to be thankful for thousands of years!
- Ways to notice the good things in your world
- Ways to model gratitude for your teens and youngers
Kym recalled that being in seventh grade started a new school. It was a different setting than she was used to: from a school in the city to a suburban setting. On her first day there, she was feeling nervous. On her way back from gym class, she realized,
“Wow! I could just be positive and it would make my life better. Not only that but it might make life better for someone else!”
Kym is so grateful today that God wired her for gratitude. It has helped her through stressful times and struggles ever since that time. Here is a resource Kym finds inspiring:
The books of Jon Gordon. He is a person who was naturally negative but learned to be positive after being challenged by his wife. One of the thankfulness practices that Kym learned from him is to take a daily “thankfulness walk”.
Kym also practices a nightly review of the positive things that:
- She has done that day
- Others have done for her that day
- Anything else she can think of to be thankful for
- Here’s a post with more Kym-like ideas for thanksgiving
Sabrina points out that Kym has been a gratitude inspiration to her and her son-in-law during a beach trip their families all took together. In fact, Sabrina’s son-in-law told her that when he “grew up” he wanted to be Kym because she was so enthusiastic and noticed the good things in life. Sabrina noticed that Kym was even blessed by seeing the well-done lines in a parking lot!
Vicki also mentioned she enjoys the encouragement of books by John Maxwell.
Start prayer with gratitude
Sabrina has found that whenever she is troubled about something, she wants to pray about it. However, she found that when she starts the prayer with “thank you”, she actually feels better than starting with the troubles.
With that in mind you can remember Sabrina’s favorite quote:
It is much harder to angst and spazz when standing before the throne of God if you start the prayer with gratitude!
How do you help teens learn to be thankful-er?
Teens sometimes think parents are irritating if they lecture about any topic. However, you can model gratitude for them!
- Take them on thankful walks and talk about what you are doing on the walk
- Model thankfulness and gratitude
- Keep a gratitude journal daily (and let the family see you work on it sometimes)
- Pray that God put role models in their lives who will live a lifestyle of thankfulness
- Model “taking a break” for self-care and gratitude
You can also ask them about ways they could practice being a grateful person. (They might have an app for that!)
Also, be sure that you:
- Occasionally thank them for daily good behaviors
- Alway thank them for special kindnesses they have done
- This attitude of thankfulness tends to improve relationships and work habits!
What are some good resources that you have found for learning or practicing gratitude?
In the meantime, here’s a post to get you thinking about helpful ways to homeschool through the holidays.
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