Give Thanks and Receive Thanks

thanksgivingIt’s our last week of November, and people are busily preparing to gather around the table. Many are fantasizing about their favorite side dish, and more than happy to let everyone know what that dish is! If you haven’t gotten your supplies… good luck to you, because the lines have already started to back up a few days ago.

Besides the food though, we must reflect on the actual thing being celebrated! Thanksgiving! Grace was given to those pilgrims all those years ago by tribes that saw the need to help. On a daily basis we give thanks to people that bestow on us small favors. Holding a door open, let a person get into traffic, stop for people walking across the street, saying good morning, or even offering a smile. These are all gifts, however minuscule they may be, they are all significant and help to make a person’s day better. You can’t help but pass those positive gifts forward onto another, and hopefully they will do the same.

I put “Give Thanks” first in the title above, because we so often don’t see or let it sink in, when we receive these small favors.  “I woke up, so did every member of my family. No one is coughing and we all feel good. Yay!” Thankful… YES! Employment, roofs over our heads, food in our refrigerator, clothes on our bodies, and a country with FREEDOM! Thankful… YES!

thankful 2The list of examples of things to be thankful for can go on and on. They will also vary for different people. What’s important is knowing that when life seems so down, there is always something to be thankful for, even if it’s for something simple as the air you breath.

If you are reading this, and subscribed to Discover! Children’s Museum, you are most likely around little ones or have great hope for our future generation. It’s important for us to teach children about being thankful. We have such a wonderful opportunity in our country to be able to teach our children about this wonderful tradition.  As they learn how to do so daily, they also become content, and are well likely to proceed to extend their hands out to share that contentment with others.

There are many simple ways of doing this, and not to mention oodles of articles on the subject.  So we’ll share a link about that too!

  • Be an example: If your child sees that you are thankful they will also mimic that same behavior.  Point out what there is to be thankful for. The air we breath, family, food, flowers, sun, etc. Say why you are thankful for them. “I’m so thankful for fresh air, it makes me feel so good, and thank goodness the trees make air for us to breath!”
  • Give Thanks and Receive Thanks: When you see them do something nice, thank them for it. Or just simply thank them for being themselves. They in turn will do the same to you as well to those around them.
  • Take in the life around you: When kids are taught to observe the joy and positive things around them. They will start to seek out those things where ever they go.
  • thankfulShare what you are thankful for daily: We often do this, it’s simple and yes we sometimes forget. I often ask the kids what was the best thing that happened in their day, and we’ll also asked what they didn’t like. This helps to keep me aware of what’s going on and expand on any positive or negative things. It also helps them too, to know that even if they had a very miserable day that something good was in it too.
  • Point out what’s good about the world around us: Now there may be some out there that say, “Well there is a lot of BAD out there too.” To which I say, there comes a time and a place as well as a different blog entry for that. So for now, talk about our freedom and the vast array of cultures/people/environments/celebrations.
  • Read books about gratitude: There are so many out there and if you don’t have the money. Well… fancy that! You can borrow them from the library! Yet another thing to be thankful for.  Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson is one of our family favorites!
  • Practice: Practice makes perfect, and we are teaching our kids to do so on a daily basis. We teach them to thank us after they have been passed the salt, handed a spoon, or given a treat. We also can teach them how to write a thank you note to someone that has given them a gift. Plus they get to see us in action when we have received something as well.
  • IMG_3880Craft Gratitude: We blogged a couple of weeks ago about making a Thankful Tree. There are oodles of other ways to use crafts to teach children about it, and most likely you have seen them come home with the results from school, church, or other clubs. Like adults, kids like to see things come together, and they also like feeling like they accomplished something when they’ve created their masterpieces. So praise them and add that you are so thankful that they are thoughtful and aware of the blessings they have had.

For more helpful articles & craft idea, check out our Be Thankful Board!

So with all these tidbits of advice. We at Discover! Children’s Museum wish you a very VERY happy Thanksgiving. We are very thankful for your support and will be even more happy to give thanks to all the little faces when we return. For now be safe and happy Discover! Friends!