When you think of Thanksgiving, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Maybe you get a warm fuzzy image of your loved ones surrounding you in your home. Perhaps you envision turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie! Or maybe you begin to count your blessings and take that time to remember what really matters in life.
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays and I hope I can pass down a few of the traditions I grew up with to my boys.
The most important is acknowledging and vocalizing what we’re thankful for.
The wonderful thing about this is that you can start it with kids at a very young age. My oldest is three, so this year we spent about half an hour making a Thankfulness chain to hang by our table. I cut up strips of yellow, orange and brown construction paper and asked my preschooler what he loved vs what he was thankful for.
This was a much easier concept to grasp for a three year old and he had no problem coming up with ideas. He listed family members, toys, and personal items that were special to him and I wrote them down on the construction paper strips with a black sharpie. Using a stapler, I then assembled the strips into circles that connected to each other, forming a chain.
We hung up the finished project by our dining table and whenever we sat down to a meal, we’d talk about what he had listed and how thankful we were for those blessings.
The holidays can be busy and it’s very easy to get caught up in what we have to do and where we have to be.
So when you are sitting around the table for that Thanksgiving feast, I encourage you to put the forks down for a moment and have everyone list off one or two things that they feel especially grateful. Maybe it’s a new member who has joined the family, perhaps it’s for your warm home, or maybe it’s that Daddy or Mommy has a job. As a family of Faith, we take it one step further and thank God for all the things he’s given us, since that’s an important part of our daily life.
Keep in mind that the best way to teach our children is to lead by example. By us grownups taking the time to pause and talk about our blessings, our kids will learn to lead a life and heart of gratitude – not only at Thanksgiving, but all year round.
Happy Holidays to you all!