This is a week where we stop to give thanks for the many blessings that we are privileged to have in our lives. It is a special time of thinking through all of the good things that we possess and can celebrate.
Include your teen
It is a great time of year to engage our teenagers into the family. So often, because they are adjusting to growth and development, they feel they no longer fit into the family like they used to when they were younger. Therefore, the connection to family helps them in ways they may not understand, but it is important that those of us who have teenagers make sure they are wrapped into our family gatherings and included in this holiday in a way that they feel needed and valued.
Being thankful for your teen
As we consider our blessings, why not also take some time to think about your teenager: their strengths, their contributions, their uniqueness and their place in the family. Wouldn’t it be a great idea to take a moment either verbally or in a Thanksgiving card to say how much you appreciate them? I realize that they may not respond outwardly they way you would like, but in their private world of emotional and relational needs, they usually will value what those around them will affirm more than any of us may realize.
One of the most important things a teenager needs is to feel loved, needed and wanted by someone. Thanksgiving is a great time of year to simply say, “Thank you for you!” and give them a few specific affirmations as to why you value them, how they help others and why you want them in your life. It is a message that most teenagers long for but rarely will admit that they need.
So, this Thanksgiving, give them a surprise that they may not expect–your thanks, praise and love. I believe that it will be a great blessing to you as well.
Happy Thanksgiving to you all, and thanks for caring for our teenagers!
Gerry Vassar, President and CEO, Lakeside Educational Network