As parents, we need look no further than the little (and not so little) faces at the dinner table, in the second (and third) row of the Mom-mobile, or back yard to answer the question, “What are you grateful for?” But how do we instill that same gratitude in our kids? How do we make them aware of the bounty they enjoy and thankful for all they they have? As we enter into the holiday season, these prominent Bergen County moms share their thoughts on gratitude and how to inspire it in our children.
Megan Morgan, model, wife of Tracey Morgan, and mom to one young daughter
I am grateful for so much in my life; a roof over my head, running water, a meal and the simple fact that I’m alive today to see the sky, trees, and people I love the most. However, this holiday I am most grateful for my health, which is a priority, my family and friends, who are priceless and the setbacks I have experienced that ultimately made me stronger. Reflecting on the last few years, I am much more thankful for what I have. I look forward to the time to see and enjoy another holiday. I teach my daughter gratitude by showing her people who are less fortunate, who can’t do the normal things children her age can do. This way she can see simple things she should be grateful for. Sometimes children need a dose of reality to let them understand how blessed they actually are. For instance, being grateful to just be able to see, run, hear, do certain activities, to give and to receive is all to be appreciated. There is always something to be grateful for! In addition, being an example to my child has been the best teacher. When my child sees what I do or her father does and how we carry ourselves by being appreciative, caring or giving, she has already started to repeat to do the same. I teach my daughter to appreciate and enjoy as much as she can. It doesn’t matter how small or big; be grateful. It’s easy to take things for granted, if that’s all a child knows. The things that may seem like they are so easy to come by as parents we know they are not. Having gratitude can change someone’s life.
Emily Holliman, CEO HackensackUMC at Pascack Valley, mother of two school-aged girls
I am thankful for my busy, happy and (mostly!) healthy family. In our overbooked lives the support of my husband and the time he and I spend with our children truly brings joy to our lives. I believe being thankful makes us happy and, at the same time, we can learn to appreciate what we have. However, thankfulness is a learned discipline that we have to practice with our kids. Reinforcing simple good manners like saying “thank you”, as well as finding ways to show our children we appreciate the things they do, like when they are kind to their sibling (it does happen occasionally!) will teach them to both give and receive gratitude. If we want to be happy and raise happy kids, we need to practice gratitude or we risk feeling more entitled than appreciative.
Sarah Wragge, Holistic Nutritionist at wraggemama.com and wife to CBS News anchor, Chris Wragge and mother of one
This holiday I am grateful for my husband. We moved to Bergen county this past June to begin our new chapter and I wake up every day thankful for my partner who puts his family first. With a 15 month old and a growing business - sometimes it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day. Chris grounds me and makes it all okay. He’s a true teammate. Christian is only 15 months but we like to think that we are already teaching him through our actions. Everyday is new opportunity to acknowledge all we are blessed with and give thanks.
Dina Manzo, Host and Curator of LivvTV and founder of Glow by Dina and former Real Housewife of New Jersey, mom to one grown daughter
I’m grateful to have my mom and daughter visiting me in Malibu for Thanksgiving. I always taught my daughter gratitude by having her give back to others. She understood at an early age how fortunate she was, especially to have her health.
This holiday I am grateful for my health and that of my friends and family. Waking up well everyday is a blessing, and I do my best to never take it for granted. I strive to teach gratitude to my kids by asking them whenever they are upset about something I consider very minor (aka getting the smaller cookie, less screen time) to tell me 3 things they are grateful for and why. The WHY is the clincher - it makes them slow down and really put things in perspective.
Maritza Dearing, Fitness Innovator and founder of LiYa Life Co and LiYa Method Yoga, mother of three young children
Everyday I’m thankful and grateful for this beautiful life I get to live. This holiday season, I’m even more thankful that I get to celebrate with my healthy and loving family, especially with my father-in-law (Pop Pop) who had a heart transplant three years ago during this time of year. Celebrating another heart healthy year, is one of our greatest gifts. I’m thankful for the opportunities I’m given everyday to share my passion, purpose and gift entrusted to me with so many incredible people and that I get to serve others. As a mother of three young children, I have always reminded them of the privileges they have that many others may not have. I remind my children that kindness, respect and love for their lives is a way to show gratitude for being alive and well. My children have been taught to celebrate all people by supporting each other, and that giving back is always the way to show gratitude and love for others. They have often volunteered and made their own donations to causes they connect with, many of which support children like St. Jude’s, PitCCh In Foundation, Toys for Tots, and contributing to Hudson and Bergen County Child Services. I believe that helping others and choosing the “attitude of gratitude” guaranteed will always show us the real beauty of life.