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Conversation Prompts Every Family Needs to use this Thanksgiving

In 2014, I was teaching in South Korea during one of the country's largest disasters to affect young people. The Sewol Ferry sank killing 304 people, almost all of who were children. The entire country mourned for the rest of the year in solidarity.
All school trips were canceled and it was even deemed inappropriate to take children outside to play in the park. So many families lost their own children, that it was rude to display the laughter of living children.
This was a tough year for kids.
But, that wasn't all we wanted children to remember about that year.
They also needed to remember how supportive they were to grieving families by giving up some of their own joys.
They also needed to remember how creative they were with coming up with games and fun things for us to do indoors.

As Thanksgiving approaches and we begin to end this year, it's important to consider all of the comments and chatter our children have been collecting about 2020 and the meanings that they are creating from their memories.

I encourage every family to use these prompts to help your children, students, and families to enter next year with memories of resilience and gratitude.

Want to test the way the young person in your life has processed 2020 before you start the prompts, try asking, "What do you think of when someone says 2020?" and pay attention to the responses given.

The way that we talk about this year matters and before we end this year, having conversations with your family and children about positives and ways that they were resilient this year can give them memories and emotional support that will last the rest of their lives.

Thanksgiving is a great time to have some healthy conversations about 2020 and everyone's experiences.

You really impressed me this year by_____.

We are filling memory banks here. Remember in the film, "Inside Out," when long-term memories were made?

Right now, we're creating memories of resilience that will resurface whenever your young loved ones (or older loves) are experiencing another time of difficulty. 

"I can do this because last time I faced something hard, I _____ (how they conquered 2020)."

I love you because__.

Tell them why. It's the "why" that whispers to people you love whenever they doubt their self-worth.

It's important to feel loved, but it's also beautiful to have a list of reasons why you are uniquely loved.

We are grateful for this year because_________.

Acknowledge what has been difficult. Absolutely. There is no need for toxic positivity here, where we ignore what was tough.

However, it is also important to model the ability to also have awareness for good things that are happening, but research has also proven that gratitude during difficult times helps our mental health during traumatic events. This is an important tool to teach.

Thanks so much for reading! 

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