Tis the season for gratitude - something that can be hard to find and even harder to teach when you live with a gaggle of middle schoolers who are focused on me, me, me. This of course is totally age appropriate (thank you, books like Untangled and Brainstorm, which are great at explaining the adolescent brain and calming the fears of a middle-aged mother). It may be age appropriate, but I find lack of gratitude nearly intolerable in any age and definitely in tweens and teens.
One child lobbied a complaint on me and I literally hit the hard reset button and made them play a little game with me over slices of pizza called “find the awesome.” The twins were skeptical. I challenged them to present me with something literally terrible and I would teach them to find the awesome - and of course these kids have my number because one nods at the tv screen in the pizza place and says “him.”
My response: while I don’t like President Trump as our leader, having him as a leader has helped me define and solidify my own beliefs and has galvanized support from a previously complacent block of voters. Thank U, Next. So I challenged the kids to do it. So far, they are grateful for homework because it makes them appreciate the value of hard work and they are thankful that their mom gets on their case for their lack of vegetables because it shows them that she cares about their health. They are thankful for not having a data plan on their old iPhones because they still work at home and it’s not that bad to have to get onto mom’s hotspot in the car (don’t judge me, it’s been 20 degrees and I have no fight left). They are thankful for being dragged to drop their sister off at rehearsal because they got to see the moon and it looked pretty. They even found a way to be grateful for each other.
When it’s time to eat pie in a few weeks, I’ll be grateful for that.