Thanksgiving offers an excellent opportunity to discuss the character trait of hospitality with our children. Many families gather to celebrate the holiday, providing a chance to cheerfully share food, shelter, and friendship with others. But it’s important to remember that hospitality shouldn’t be reserved only for the holidays; we have plenty of opportunities to share with others every day. A kind word or a smile costs us nothing and enriches the lives of both the giver and receiver. Sharing is the cornerstone of hospitality and requires that we look beyond ourselves to recognize the needs of others. When we act with hospitality, we nurture the seeds of friendship and strengthen our relationships.
In flocks of bighorn sheep, the oldest female (ewe) leads the flock to find food and shelter. The rocky mountain terrain is challenging and
dangers like steep cliffs or hungry predators can pop up at any time. The ewe’s years of experience have taught her where to find the best pastures and the safest places. The other sheep follow her and share in the bounty. This sharing of resources illustrates the trait of hospitality.
I Will Statements
- I will welcome visitors.
- I will make others feel important.
- I will prepare for my guests.
- I will gladly share my things.
- I will not expect anything in return.
- The Thanksgiving weekend is an excellent opportunity to appreciate our blessings and consider the needs of others. Your family could volunteer to serve a meal at a soup kitchen. Donating unused toys or clothing to a charity also provides the opportunity to practice hospitality.
- Words are powerful tools; they can offer support and encouragement or they can cause pain and grief. Talk with your children about what they say to their friends and family. While gathered around the dinner table, ask your children what they did or said to brighten someone’s day. Challenge each family member to find at least one way to offer hospitality to another person every day.
- Having a friend over to share a meal, play a game, or spend the night is always a great way to show hospitality. The next time your child asks to invite a friend over, discuss the “I will” statements and develop a plan to put each of the statements into action with their guest.
- It is often said that we find what we are looking for. Take time this month to look for and praise the positive character traits your child displays. Let him or her know you think they are great—it will make you both feel better.
- Let your kids clip out the “I will” statements and use them as a bookmark with a portable reminder of teachable moments regarding hospitality.