BARNEGAT/WARETOWN, NJ – For many local residents, finding reasons to be grateful may require some extra reflection this Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, many children in Barnegat and Ocean Township had no problem in coming up with messages of gratitude.

Each and every one of us can learn from the little people in our community. Their appreciation mirrors lessons taught at home and in school.

Children whose lives have become topsy turvy have adjusted to wearing masks and changes in school schedules. Their resilience is beyond that of many adults.

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Things are bad for many people. Dinner tables may be missing people because of actual loss – or fears of possibly spreading infection. Many will decide that the risk does not  justify the failure to gather a family together for the usual breaking of bread.

The threat of loneliness remains a reality - and that tomorrow might not come for some reason not necessarily related to the pandemic.

Hard-working people find themselves financially challenged this year and reliant on others to help them share Thanksgiving traditions.

In the midst of it all, we are grateful for the inspiration we found in these last-minute answers to our Thanksgiving question. They were solicited and submitted separately – but the theme cannot be ignored. 

If you wondered or even needed a reminder, family reigns paramount in the eyes of children. Some are also grateful for their chickens, doggies, and dinosaurs, as well as technological novelties, trees, and teachers.

Whether saying grace is a part of your Thanksgiving celebration or not, this would be a year to consider one other tradition.

Take a moment and make the rounds around the table. Ask each and every person to share their message of gratitude. It’s a fine lesson and a reminder that as uncertain or horrific as things may seem, Americans can always find at least a glimmer of appreciation.

From the mouths of babes (with slight edits):

Eliza K., Waretown, age 5 – “I am thankful for my family and that Daddy gets two extra days off to play with me for Thanksgiving.”

Savanna E., Waretown, age 5 – “I am thankful for our house, our town, love, Eliza, and turkey.”

Maddie F., Barnegat, age 5 – “I am thankful for my family and friends.”

Atreyu B, 5, Waretown-“ I’m thankful for my dog, Bob, my teacher, Miss Paczkowski, and for dinosaurs.”

Tommy F., Barnegat, age 6 – “I am grateful for all of my family.”

Lilly E., Waretown, age 7 – “I am thankful for my family, house, food, little sister, pets, and my Mema.”

Cosette B., Waretown, age 7, Waretown – “I’m thankful for my family, and my dog, Bob.”

Gia S., Barnegat, age 8 – “I am grateful for my family I am also grateful for my friends and teacher.”

Jayden B., Waretown, age 8 - "I am grateful for Connor, who always plays with me and has been like a dad to me."

Michael, Barnegat, age 8 – “I am grateful for my Mom and Dad.”

Malak A., Barnegat, age 8 – “I am grateful for my family and my cousins.”

Eddie R., Barnegat, age 8 - "am thankful for my mom, dad, brother, and my dogs. I am happy we get to spend time together playing Uno and that we are healthy."

Gia P. Barnegat, age 9 – “I am grateful for my family.”

Pia C., Barnegat, age 9 – “I am grateful for my house, my food, and my family”

Isabella M. Barnegat, age 9 – “I am grateful for a roof over my head, my family and my friends.”

Ethan S. Barnegat, age 9 – “I am grateful for my family.”

Angel P., Barnegat, age 9 – “I am grateful for food, a house to live in and my school.”

Annabelle S.Barnegat,  age 9 – “I am grateful for my family.”

Savannah F., Barnegat, age 9 – “I am grateful for peace.”

Hailey G. Barnegat, age 9 – “I am grateful for my family.”

Emma O., Barnegat, age 9 – “I am grateful for all things that make me happy like my family, dogs, and friends.”

Carlos M. Barnegat, age 10 – “I am grateful for my grandma. She is coming to see me and to decorate my Christmas tree with her.”

Abraham C, Barnegat, age 10 – “I am thankful for my family and my house.”

Carlisle Q., Barnegat, age 9 – “I am thankful for my chickens.”

Max Y. Barnegat, age 10 – “I am grateful for my family.”

Savannah H. Barnegat, age 10 – “I am grateful for my family, friends, and my school.”

Noah V. Barnegat, age 10 – “I am grateful for my family.”

Connor S. Barnegat, age 10 – “I am grateful for my Nintendo Switch, Alana, Mom and Dad, Hailey, Triston, Harley, and my mom.”

Jonathan S. Barnegat, age 10 “I am grateful for my sister Reilly, Mom, Dad, and Kevin. I am also grateful for my cousins Aiden, Emily, family and my friends.”

Trent P., Barnegat, age 10 – “I’m thankful for trees. They give us oxygen, paper, and food.”

Andy R., Barnegat, age 11 - "I am thankful for my four dogs. They always give me a lick if I am feeling sad and I make them happy by rubbing their bellies. They are an important part of my family."

Jake O., Barnegat, age 11 – “I am thankful for my family and virtual learning so I can keep my grandma safe.”

Emma F., Barnegat, age 13 – “I am thankful for a roof over my head and the kindness of people I have never met before.”

Allie P., Barnegat, age 13 – “I’m thankful for Anime.”

Nora H., Barnegat, age 15 – “It’s been a crappy year for everyone – but I can say I’m grateful for my family, friends and my animals.”

Cody Q., Barnegat, age 16 – “I am thankful for my mom.”

Sam H. Barnegat, age 18 – ““I’m grateful that I am healthy and live in a two-parent household. I am grateful I don’t have to worry about food, home, shoes and clothes.  I am grateful I can have an education.”

The publishers and editor of TAPintoBarnegat/Waretown are grateful for all of you. Some give us the gift of sharing your thoughts. Others provide us with feedback recognizing the depths of our work. The relationships we’ve nurtured make it all worthwhile.

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us – and God Bless our wonderful America.

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