Being Thankful for the Child You Have

It’s nearly 11 o’clock on the Saturday night before Thanksgiving and my friends and I are sitting around talking about being thankful for our children and how important it is to truly accept each child for who the child is.

These words may help when you have trouble accepting your child.

diane sitting on steps with three kidsMy friend who works in a school for the deaf shares some words of wisdom. She has seen her share of parents who struggle to accept their children the way they are.

Your child is fine as they are. They are who they are, and not who you want them to be, or who you think they should be. You are not in competition with other people’s children.

Not every child is the same. But every child can succeed. Yet, they succeed in their own way. It’s important to meet your child where they are and nurture who they are, again, not as you think they should be or wish they were, but as they actually are.

It’s okay to want the best for your child. But understand each child’s successes will be different from any other child. Each child develops at their own rate and in their own way.

Each child is a miraculous human being. Each is filled with gifts and potentials that need to be nurtured and supported.

So, look at your child, and take stock of who they are, what they like, and what their strengths are. Nurture them. Stop wishing your child was somebody else. Your child is just fine being who they are and possessing what they have in terms of gifts they can give to the world.

Love and nurture who they are and not what you think they should be. This is how you can be thankful for the child you have.”

Pretty important words to live by as parents and to reflect on, especially at Thanksgiving. We can decide to be thankful for each child’s blessing to us, honoring each child’s uniqueness.

Invitation for Reflection
1. Think about how accepted you were as a child, just for who you were. If you were fully accepted, most likely you learned to accept and value yourself. If you were not, you may have struggled your whole life and may still be struggling to find that inner gift of self-acceptance.
2. Take the time to consider the unique gifts of each of your children. Consider their strengths, their positive attributes, and the many ways they enrich you and your family. Take the time to tell them this. Let them know you are thankful that they are a member of the family, just the way they are.

Diane Wagenhals, Director of Lakeside Global Institute