Halloween is behind us. And while it is still in the balmy mid-60s in the northeast, we are deep into fall, with the start of November and the end of Daylight Savings Time.
As we move through the end of the year, we are also moving into the time for giving thanks, the time for giving to those we love, and the time for giving to those in need.
Thanksgiving offers a time for gratitude, and falling toward the end of the year, an opportunity to reflect on the year. The holidays at the end of the year offer a time for giving and sharing with family and friends.
This can be a rich time of family tradition, and a tremendous opportunity to share with the younger set the values we have through the way we spend our money. These holidays also provide a context for a discussion about what truly matters, and how to share the bounty we might have found throughout the year, with others who were not so fortunate. Even the beginning of the cold — and in some parts of the country, snow — provides a more visceral understanding of need.
It can be an ongoing challenge to teach children about values as they are surrounded by materialism just about 24/7 thanks to the internet, smartphones, and social media. This constant onslaught of information can make it easier to fall into more of a mindset of deprivation — what they don’t have, what their friends have, or celebrities have, and how their lives are lacking.
Giving thanks puts the focus back on what we do have, and have been able to provide for our children, and an opportunity for kids to reflect and acknowledge gratitude for all they have been given. Giving to others, in the form of money, time, and other material donations, echoes our own good fortune, and also shares a clear value of what matters to a family.
The year-end holidays can sometimes be a rush of stress and busyness. So before all of that starts, it can be a great time to talk as a family about what really matters, and how to share those values with others. Talking as a family and coming up with a giving plan to help those in need through service and donations is a wonderful way to focus on what really matters as we head into the holiday season.