The Genetics of Giving Thanks

It’s Thanksgiving time!  Is there a genetic basis for us to want to give thanks?  Well, we thanksgivingpumpkinsknow that young children starting around 1 year can learn to share, though they also want to take things back.  We also know that children around 18 months of age can understand when someone is sad or is hurt.  We know that children approaching 2 years of age can learn to say “Thank you”. These are all part of the Social Learning that TSK will be exploring…. but let’s look at Thanksgiving, itself.

Did you know that people who give thanks regularly are healthier than those of us who live each day, grumping, and begrudging?  Genetically, when we give thanks we seem to activate certain chemicals and brain areas that help us with other body processes, and help us be more loving parents!

Yes, to give thanks can mean that we try to understand and accept the moment we are experiencing.  There may be parts that we think are bad, but in most instances there is something to appreciate.

For example, your 18 month old TSK has climbed up the counter and has knocked off your favorite cookie jar. The bad part is you really liked that cookie jar, not to mention the cookies, now intermingled with glass chards…and, of course, there’s that bawling, squalling, very wiggly, scared 18 monther.

The part to be thankful for?  How about the genetic wonder you call TSK?  You have an 18 monther who is exploring and growing into a wondrous little being right before your eyes, and …maybe you really didn’t need to eat those cookies!

Give thanks this Thanksgiving, and every day… don’t forget that hug. Gene