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Ever since our kids were old enough to speak, we have held a simple and seemingly obvious Thanksgiving tradition. Just after we finish putting together a delicious plate of food, but before we start the inevitable process of over-eating, we each take time at the table to say what we are thankful for.

Of course with young children this tradition proves to be more comic relief to the adults, with past thanks going to things like “having a Nintendo DS” and “candy.” It was important that we persisted with the tradition, despite some years when the kids were talking over us and complaining because we were “taking too long” and they were going to “starve to death.”

After years of Sharon and I saying the simple things that we are thankful for, it is extremely rewarding when you witness the light bulb turn on and your kids finally grow to understand these very important things in life. Several years ago, our oldest daughter Ashley said something to the effect of, “I’m thankful that Uncle Jeff could come and spend time with us for Thanksgiving.” A simple statement, unprompted, and sincere. Sharon and I immediately looked at each other as our breath was taken and we gave each other a smile of surprise and happiness.

Often as a parent you can feel like you have no idea what you are doing and wonder if anything you try to teach them is sinking in at all. It is these few moments when we are truly thankful for the signs that we might actually be doing something right.

Happy Thanksgiving 2015 everyone!

Thankful for for the cool word cloud generator.