By Brittney Hiller

The air is rich with smells of moisture, spices, and, at times when cool enough, the robust smokiness from neighboring fireplaces. This is the time when we gather to reconnect with our families and share with one another what it is that we are thankful for.

I had an interesting experience with some kiddos that I have the pleasure to teach yoga to. Before leaving I asked each one of them to share what they are thankful for. The answers were mostly filled with toys and material items, but at four I imagine I would have said the same thing. However, a few children stuck out in the crowd of action figures and dolls – one said they were thankful for their Mom and their pet, the other was thankful for their brother, and one for her grandmother and parents.

People, thankful for other people in their lives – amazing and these people are four to five years old! When we begin to teach children at a very young age that it is WHOM you have in your life, not WHAT that is the most important; we begin to shift their vision and perhaps change their idea of the world around them.

Children are much wiser than most of us give them credit for. Having taught them yoga for over five years, I have learned that they not only catch on quickly, but also have a keen sense of when to call your bluff. I have had children often call me out on my bluff either through actions or quite surprisingly to me, with their words. It is best that we begin to practice gratitude with them while they are young. Teach them that the people in their life matter – not what shoes look great with what outfit – or what toy is the most popular. Kids get it and they want to please, therefore teach them to help, to give thanks to those that are in their life and show them what it means to be thankful for the people in your life.

After someone asked out loud, “what are YOU thankful for Mrs. Brittney??” I ended that class with this simple message: “I am grateful for all of you! Do you know why? If it wasn’t for any of you, I wouldn’t be able to sit here and teach you yoga, which I LOVE to do. I am thankful that you come to class and let me teach you, so I say to all of you thank you for being YOU!”

These past few weeks have been rough especially if you have been watching the media. Paris, Syria, thoughts on refuges –all people, all lives, all souls. We have to come together for each other, the world is not doomed; it is just hurting right now. Hurt people, hurt people, loved people, love others, those who have been helped, help others, let us share this Thanksgiving holiday with a new mindset – to be thankful for all of the people we have in our lives, how they have helped us and made our world a little brighter than it was before. Just as I did with the children, tell them why you are thankful for them – they need to hear this from you. My friend YOU are THE example that they live by. I am grateful for you! Thank you for taking the time out of your day to learn a little more on how you can make this season even more amazing.