As we are nearing the holiday season there’s been a great deal of talk in our household about a certain 4 year old’s Christmas wish list. I love both giving and receiving presents, so I admittedly do enjoy having these conversations. Each year he is more and more excited about the season, more deeply invested in his interests and as a result, more specific and emphatic about the items on his list. However, I feel strongly that there needs to be a balance between wishing and hoping for “a super, mega fast red monster truck with a remote control”, being thankful and appreciative of what we already have and being gracious and generous with others.
Last year, my Oldest and I did a number of good deeds throughout the month of December including simple things like baking for teachers and neighbors. I’m looking forward to adding some more involved activities like donating toys and sending care packages to loved ones. This year, in addition, we will be doing a Family Thankful Banner, for the month of November. Each night that it is possible and realistic, we will sit down as a family to declare something we are grateful for and explain why, to the best of our abilities. We will draw and/or write what we are thankful for on small triangles and they will be clipped to a line over our dining room table.
My hope is that this activity will be an opportunity for conversation about appreciation and being grateful for what we already have in our lives from favorite toys to special people. By participating in the process ourselves, my husband and I are serving as models to our boys. We can tell them until we are blue in the face that they need to be gracious and kind but they will most certainly learn best by watching us bring those qualities to life.
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