I’m not sure the appreciation I feel for the last week was exactly what our forefathers intended, but I am so very thankful for the week I just spent with family.  We gathered in the backwoods of a Missouri resort and enjoyed good food, fellowship, and absolutely no phone or internet service!  To play on last week’s theme, “unplugging” was sheer delight!

   As we enter the time of year that students seem to be least appreciative, I want to take the time to encourage you to teach your children appreciation.  I love to hear a young mother admonish a toddler to say “thank you” before the child can even speak.  It is amazing to me the number of teens and young adults who do not thank me for holding a door for them or giving them the right-of-way.  I worry that I am going to get decked or shot for my reaction when they don’t show appreciation. (I usually say something loudly like, “Oh thank you, kind lady” or “You’re welcome, Ingrate.”)

   More disturbing than the absence of everyday manners, though, is the lack of appreciation so many students have for the things their parents buy them.  I know, you and I were kids once, and we drug the toes of our shoes and put holes in our pants knees and disassembled some of our toys.  I see much more disturbing instances nowadays.  I have had multiple students lose or break very expensive phones.  Two days later, they have new ones!  What’s disturbing is not that kids lose or break phones; it’s that they have very expensive phones… at as early an age as seven.  

    Kids have bragged to me that they have a TV, a computer, and a gaming system in their rooms.  I have been known to reply, “Wow!  If your parents put a refrigerator and a microwave in there, they’d never have to see you!”

    Parents, your children will take stuff as long as you will give it.  That stuff is no replacement for time with them, though.  There will come a day when those things you buy don’t impress anymore.  

    While teaching your children to appreciate what you provide for them, please don’t forget to appreciate the role you’ve been given as parent.  My kids are 27 and 22, and they are still two of my favorite people in the world.  I appreciate getting to talk to them and spend time with them and watch them grow and know that I am loved by them as much as I love them.  

   Happy “appreciation” season!

-       Michelle