When I was growing up, our family had a tradition of having a Christmas eve talent show. That is a tradition that I have wanted in my own family, but one which my kids have fought. This Christmas I decided that my children were old enough that I should be able to ask this of them. I was wrong. The interesting thing was that even though they fought a talent show, that is what we ended up having naturally.
My husband's father is from Puerto Rico, and sings in a Puerto Rican band. They really have the Latino flavor to their singing and music. When his friends come to his house, we sit and enjoy listening to them play and sing latino music for hours. We went to their house for Christmas eve day, and found that one of his band friends was also there to celebrate. We all started making music together, including my children. These are the same children who won't perform on demand, but were willing to perform for fun. They all took part in some way or another, so it ended up being the talent show I wanted. I just won't tell them that. :P
I also have wished throughout the years that my children would sing together the way my siblings and I sang together growing up. Every Monday night we have a "Family home evening" and sing songs as part of our meeting. Our kids barely open their mouths, and almost whisper their singing. They have begun to do a little better since over the years we threatened not to give them part of our family home evening treat if they didn't sing. But once again, ask them to sing and they refuse. However, yesterday as we drove from California to Utah, as it began to get dark, my kids began singing. Admittedly it was with a tongue of sarcasm, but they had so much fun, and we laughed so much that it was much better than if we had planned it. One of their favorite things to do was to have some of the kids sing a sort of instrumental accompaniment, while one of the others made up a verse to the song. Then they would take turns making up the other verses. They usually picked a theme: pirate, rap, horror movie, etc. They would adjust the instrumentals to go with each theme. The pirate theme, for example, was full of "Harr harr"s, and gravely voices. We had to keep checking them on slightly naughty lyrics, but all in all it was good fun. They also made up stories for awhile. One thing they did was to start a sentence and each person added one word. That had us laughing as they took turns making fun of our dog, or me, or whatever. :)
I guess the lesson in this is to not look at the world in black and white. Instead of being upset that things aren't exactly as we want, we can enjoy what we get. Maybe that is what true gratitude is all about.