Thankful for Our Children

Article courtesy of Danielle Cross

As Thanksgiving approaches, it is a common tradition to ask kids what they are thankful for. Although the list evolves as children get older, it is rare for those early versions to include adults, and especially their parents. But as their teachers, their grandparents, and their moms and dads especially, we know that kids are blessings in our lives and we are very thankful for them—for lots of reasons.

They are reinvigorating.

“Kids represent new life,” says Eugene Cashman, president and CEO of the Urban Child Institute, “and their innocence reminds us of the importance of providing the nurture that they need during those earliest years.”

As family members, teachers and caretakers involved in these early stages, we strive to provide enriching experiences for our children. But we also know that it is not only the kids who benefit. As adults, we have the opportunity to experience life anew through their eyes. Through our interactions, children remind us of the fun and fascinating mysteries of the world that we may have long ceased to notice. They renew in us a sense of discovery.

They are exuberant.

If you’ve ever offered to play superheroes with a child, or even just to watch him jump off the couch, you perhaps received a more enthusiastic response than you thought the suggestion warranted. Because kids are not yet self-conscious, they are unafraid to be themselves and to express their happiness (and yes, other feelings as well) without inhibition.

“You get instant feedback and gratification through smiles and hugs,” says Cashman, who has four children and nine grandchildren of his own, “and those are paybacks that last a lifetime.”

They are the future.

Whether you are a parent or not, there is an innate concern for our children because we know that one day we will entrust to them the future of our world. They will be the government, the teachers, the artists, the athletes and the parents who lead according to the values that they have been taught.

“One of your greatest investments of both time and resources is in children,” says Cashman. “It’s important to instill in the next generation the qualities that will have them giving back as time goes on.”

Here at the Urban Child Institute, we are grateful for the children in our city and celebrate especially their potential to effect positive change. This month, we are promoting thankfulness for them, and we want to hear from you! Let us know why you’re thankful for the kids in your community by letting us know.