Gratitude to My Family


Grade Level: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Keywords: Jodo Shinshu


  • The student will gain appreciation for religious, cultural and family heritage and traditions.


  • Thanksgiving at Obaachan's by Mitsue Brown
  • White board or butcher paper and markers
  • Writing paper for each student to express the family get-togethers
  • Pencil and colored pencils for drawing


  • Obtain book
  • Setup white board or butcher paper


  1. Read aloud the story, Thanksgiving at Obaachan’s. Before you begin ask the students if they can guess what the story is about. What does the word Obaachan mean? As you read, ask questions. Are there things in the story that remind them about their Thanksgiving/New Year’s Day? Define and discuss Japanese words used in the story.
  2. Pre-writing –Reveal that students will be sharing their own stories through writing and drawings. Brainstorm and draw circle maps on the whiteboard or poster paper.
    1. Which family get-together is important to you? List all the different times and/or holidays.
    2. Who are the family members that attend?
    3. What are the things that you do there? What do you eat? What will you always remember?
  3. Writing—Have the students write answers to the questions above. These are their "stories"
  4. Illustrating—Students can illustrate their stories.
  5. Conclusion--Share thoughts about the book, their story and the Buddhist message. Appreciation for family members, traditions, and culture.
  6. In the words of Rev. Kenryu Tsuji in his book, The Heart of the Buddha Dharma…
  7. Further, human life is more than physical energy; it is moral and spiritual energy. Released upon the world, this influence continues to operate throughout the universe. How many times have we read the words of the Buddha and other masters and found an unending source of inspiration, comfort, strength, and a practical guide to living. How many times have you picked up an old letter written by your long departed mother or father, wife or husband and quietly contemplated its contents. That person’s karmic energies or the person’s Dharma—their visions, dreams, activities, words and thoughts—will continue to exert their powerful influence on the minds and hearts of those who knew them.


  • Ask probing questions during the Conclusion to gauge student's understanding. Encourage internalization (being able to give their own different examples)




Marion Nishimura,, Orange County Buddhist Church, 2014