The month of November in many cultures is the month of remembrance. It is a designated time to honor both those who have died and the family we still have with us. In the beginning of November there are celebrations for Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), All Souls Day, and All Saints Day. Traditionally, these days are a time of reflection, celebration, and remembrance. Towards the middle of November, we remember all of our veterans on Veterans Day. Then, we wrap up the month with the traditional holiday of Thanksgiving, a time to reflect and be grateful for our country, family, and friends.
Overall, the month of November is a wonderful time to remember those we love and to be grateful for their presence, memory, and blessing in our lives. In fact, as much as New Years is a time to plan and prepare resolutions for the time ahead, the month of November is a perfect month for self-reflection; looking back at where and who we come from, while giving thanks for the journey.
This time of year is especially important for our children. Through stories, pictures, videos, books, recipes, and even music, you can share your "personal" history with your child and reminisce about family history, grandparents, cultures, and traditions.
At a time when there is a lot of turmoil in the world, remembering the good in our lives and the people who are a part of it, is a blessing. The month of November could not have come sooner.
So, what do you suggest, you may be asking. Well, during this month, I challenge you to once a week or more, sit down with your children, no matter the age (perhaps at dinner or before bed), and tell them a story or show them some old pictures of you and your family. Let them see where you come from; where they come from. Then, throughout the month have gratitude check-ins. During these check-ins, reflect with your child on the good things in your lives and what you are grateful for.
If you want something a little more tangible, create a gratitude pumpkin and write down daily on the pumpkin everything you are thankful for, and then use the pumpkin(s) as Thanksgiving decorations. You could get everyone in the family their own pumpkin or have a big family one. In regard to remembering your ancestors and traditions, you could follow the Mexican culture and create an ofrenda, or a space in your home where you put pictures and momentos of those who have passed.
This not only keeps your loved ones’ memories alive, but it will also help facilitate the discussion of your ancestry with your children. As a final suggestion, don’t forget that our family members live on in the food and traditions they passed down to us. Make a family recipe, or take part in a
special tradition during this month with your children.
Really, there is no wrong way to celebrate your heritage and show gratitude. Be the role model you want to be for your children. Show them where they come from, and how appreciative you are to be where you are at.
As always, God Bless.
By Cheryl Thode