Town Square

Teaching Gratitude in Traffic

Original post made by Jennifer Fogliani, Whisman Station, on Nov 20, 2011

I decided to make turkey puppets with my kids. I traced their hands to make a turkey shape, they colored the turkeys, I cut them out and we glued them on popsicle sticks.

I thought it would be cute to write down on the back what Josie and Owen were thankful for this year. I started with Owen since Josie had decided that her turkey was incomplete without glitter.

“What are you thankful for this year?’ I asked Owen. Owen paused for a minute and then started to rattle off a list of things.

“Dinosaurs, Blocks, a Buzz Light Year game,” he said. So impressed, I started writing them down immediately. Just as I finished writing blocks, it hit me.

“Owen! This is your Christmas list!” I said.

He nodded and said, “lets give the turkey to Santa.”

It's a typical rise and fall moment in parenting. One moment you feel like the greatest mother in the world and the next, you realize your child is more focused on what he’s getting than what he’s grateful for.

I started to wonder if I’ve ever taken the time to teach my children what it means to be grateful and how to recognize all the blessings in their lives. There is too much we all I take for granted, I thought.

I was still thinking about Owen’s list the next morning when we were stopped in traffic on Grant Rd. I spend a lot of time driving on Grant Rd. but, today, the word on the street sign struck me. Maybe I shouldn’t take these quiet moments in the car for granted.

I turned off the radio and talked to Josie and Owen about all the things that I am grateful for and how it’s important not to take the anything for granted.

“We are so lucky,” I said “to have so many wonderful family members and friends, to have a car and a house and toys to play with." I tried to explain that even though it’s okay to want a few new things for Christmas, we shouldn’t take for granted all the wonderful things we already have.

I waited anxiously for a response.

“Are we at school yet?” Josie asked.

“Is Christmas here yet?” Owen asked.

The light in front of me was green, but there was no where to go. For the first time, I was grateful for the traffic on Grant Rd. It gave me the extra time I needed to go over gratitude and what we take for granted a few more times.

Hopefully, during one of our drives up and down the traffic filled streets of Grant Rd., my children will learn how important it is to appreciate every day and never take a single thing for granted.


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Posted by Driver
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Nov 21, 2011 at 5:56 am

Please don't drive distracted. Not moving when on a green light is inviting trouble.

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Posted by Eddie
a resident of Whisman Station
on Nov 21, 2011 at 1:49 pm


If you were to re read the last part, you would have realized, as I have in my many years of driving, that even if the light is green, it doesn't mean you can always go. Unless you want to drive over the car in front of you, which would mean more distraction. I found the story cute and perfect when dealing with gratitude and xmas in the same conversation. Especially with young kids. Great blog kidsntow!