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Johnson County
11811 S. Sunset Drive
Suite 1500
Olathe, KS 66061

(913) 715-7000
(913) 715-7005 fax
jo@listserv.ksu.edu

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A Time for Thankfulness

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The end of the year always seems to increase our emphasis on family, traditions and celebrations. One way to embrace the warmth of the season and cement memories is by creating conversation about these important topics using the word thankfulness as the catalyst.

Why would we want to be thankful for our family? Perhaps even how we define our "family" is a topic to start the thankfulness discussion. Is there a tradition from your childhood or current family happenings that you are truly thankful for? Have you shared this tradition with your children or friends? What about celebrations which you calendar out on a yearly basis? Below are some ways to start the conversation using the art of questioning.

Family
Are you and your family spending quality time together? Do you eat dinner together at the table? Are electronics allowed during the meal? If your family is anything like mine, the answer could be yes and sometimes no.

The two questions the majority of youth get asked after their school day are, 1) "How was your day?", and 2) "What did you have for lunch?". The response usually varies from "fine" to "stuff", depending on the age of the children living in your household.

Why not try asking questions that invoke thankfulness? "What was the best part of your day?" "What new thing did you learn today?" "What were you thankful for today?" Asking open ended questions prohibits single word answers, and encourages your youth to stop, reflect and be thankful.

Traditions
Inevitably, there are food items on the family table that are exclusive to the family's history. Try asking such questions as, "Where did this dish come from?", or, "Is there a secret ingredient in your recipe?".

My family loved my great grandmother's apple pie. She held tightly to her recipe until she felt you were worthy of knowing her secret ingredient. I felt privileged to finally learn what that secret ingredient was my sophomore year in high school! Create excitement for your family's traditions and instill why being thankful for these unique qualities are important to your family.

Celebrations
Does your family decorate the house a certain way for the holiday season? Have you ever wondered why you decorate the way you do? A simple way to start a family conversation is to ask, "What is the one special event during the holiday season you cherish the most?" The highlight for many youth during the holiday season are the family celebrations. Hold onto the traditional celebrations, but challenge your family to establish new ones. Why not ask your child what they think would be a new way to celebrate?

Questions lead to discussion, which creates communication between all ages in the household. Starting small, with everyday questions, can help ease those harder discussions that are sure to come at some point in time.

The topic of thankfulness provides an easy way to start the conversation. To be thankful for family, traditions or celebrations opens the door for many hours of why, what, whom and where for the whole family to answer, which builds a strong and lasting bond.

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Contact Us

Ami Lin
4-H/Youth Development Agent
Ami.Lin@jocogov.org

Amanda Fraunfelter
4-H Youth Development Program Manager
Amanda.Fraunfelter@jocogov.org

Nancy Carr
School Enrichment Coordinator
Nancy.Carr@jocogov.org

Christin Bartels
Office Professional
Christin.Bartels@jocogov.org