Sunday, November 4, 2012

Teaching Thankfulness

With Thanksgiving coming up later this month, I have noticed quite a few people who are posting on their facebook pages daily about what they are thankful for.  I think this is a great idea, it reminds us that while we may have wants* (don't we all), there is so much that we have already that we can be thankful to God for.

One of the hardest things I've come to find around the holidays, particularly Thanksgiving and Easter, is to find ways to teach my children why we celebrate them.

When you think about it, what does a bunny have to do with Christ being risen from the dead?  Or what does a turkey have to do with being thankful to God for what we have been given?

The things that have come to represent these holidays don't always have to do with the actual reasoning behind the holiday, and the separation of the commercialization and truth behind the commercialization doesn't always translate exactly when talking to little ones.  They see the flashy lights and glitter that society has come to associate with the holidays.

In order to attempt to reinforce the idea of Thanksgiving being a celebration of all the things we have to be thankful for, I have decided that for everyday leading up to Thanksgiving, I'll have the kids, on a cut-out of their own hands, write something that they are thankful for.  So far (on Day 4), it seems to have gone pretty well.  Not only have I remembered to do this everyday, but the kids have listed some really great things to be thankful for.

Today, Ashton decided to put down that he is thankful for his family.
Sydney decided that she was thankful for Ashton today (It's nice to see this one in writing, since usually she doesn't act like she is so thankful for him ☺)
So far, I've just been basically taping these hands to the wall.  I was thinking it would be neat to put up a paper tree so the hand prints look like leaves, or even turkey bodies so they could be like feathers (although floating turkey bodies may be a little weird, particularly the ones that don't have 'feathers' yet.... it would be like a large plucked bird just staring at you as you walked in the house).
Here's how it looks so far:

So far this month, Ashton has been thankful for his family, Halloween, Valentine's Day, and his birthday (he's slowly working his way through the holidays).  Sydney has been thankful for Ashton, hugs and kisses, Christmas, and Santa Clause (she also is very thankful for holidays).

So what about your family?  How do you teach the importance and reasoning behind holidays and their celebrations to your kids?  Do you have any special traditions that keep these 'reasons for the season' more prominent than if you didn't practice these traditions?


  1. This is such a great idea! We all need a little reminder of how truly blessed we are! Thanks for linking up to our Strut Your Stuff Saturday. We hope you'll be back. We had fun checking out your blog! -The Six Sisters

  2. What a great idea! We did little things all through their childhood years and I did some rather large, "They will never forget" things too. And,yes, they talk about those lessons and what is nice,they are thankful we did them but not so thankful when they happened. My children are now, 24 and 21. Keep it up, it will pay off :)
    P.S. I found you from NaBloPoMo, if you happen to go searching for me, I am Lucy's Reality (a Wordpress blog), not on Blogger (my other blog,Sedona Urbanity is just a photo blog)

  3. Such a great way to teach thankfulness. We all take turns on Thanksgiving saying out loud what we are thankful for. It is so sweet to see how the children change and mature each year. It is so sweet.

  4. I love this idea! I am bothered by the commercialism of holidays, I think it takes away from the true meaning. It always makes me happy to see that families are punctuating these festivities with meaning and importance, and even more thrilling is to see that when kids are taught this, they actually listen and remember! Nothing makes me happier than seeing a child write a gratitude list that includes spiritual and religious components!