Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today, while you're enjoying your large turkey (or tofurkey!) dinner, remember to teach the children in your life that this is not only a day to stuff ourselves with food, but to be grateful for what we have!
Here are some things you can do throughout this holiday weekend to show your gratitude!

Give the children in your life some art supplies, and ask them to make placemat for all of the people attending your Thanksgiving celebration. On each person's placemat, the children can write why they are grateful for the person who the placemat is for... "I'm thankful for Aunt Jane because she is fun to talk to," or "I am thankful for my brother because he shares his toys with me." This will keep your kids busy while you're getting ready for the festivities, and what a nice Thanksgiving surprise for the people around the table!

Gather up a bunch of candles... one for every member of your famil or for every person at your gathering. Set up the candles at the table. Have each person take a turn talking about something they are thankful for, and then lighting one of the candles. When all of the candles are lit, turn off the lights, and take a moment to bask in the candle light!

If you celebrate a winter holiday that involves gift giving (Christmas, for example!) remind the children in your life that the holiday is coming up and they'll soon be recieving new toys and clothes. Over the weekend, have them work on sorting out some clothes, toys, books, etc, that they no longer want. Then, have them go with you to bring the items to a near by children's hospital, shelter, clothing closet, etc.

Feel like you have far too much leftovers when Thanksgiving is over? Consider making sandwiches and donating them to a local homeless shelter on the day after Thanksgiving! Make sure your children accompany you to deliver the food, so they have a memory of really helping someone in need!

If you have or work with children in foster care, children from low-income homes, or other children who are generally the recipient of charity, it is important to make sure you also give them the expperience of being the giver of charity. I recently came across an sutobiographical story about a family who was the poorest family in their town, back during the Depression. A month before Thanksgiving, they went to church, and the pastor announced that on the weekend before Thanksgiving the church would be taking up a special collection to be donated to a poor family, so that a poor family could have a nice holiday. The particular family in the story, although they themselves were considered poor, decided they wanted to help a family even needier than them. All that month they scrimped and saved, cutting their grocery expenses in half so that they could put more money in a special envelope. The children did odd jobs for neighbors and saved up their milk money, so they could put money in the envelope. By the weekend before Thanksgiving, the family had saved up seventy-five dollars... a huge amount of money for back in those days! Bursting with pride, the family brought their seventy-five dollars to church.
The pastor passed around a basket, and everyone put money in. The family in the story was so excited to be putting all that money they'd collected into the basket! They felt like this was their best Thanksgiving ever.
At the end of the service, the pastor walked up to the family, and gave the parents another envelope. "We collected money for the poor, so here you go," the pastor said. "Now you can have a nice Thanksgiving dinner."
The family... and especially the children... were crestfallen and humiliated. They opened up the envelope and found one hundred dollars... seventy-five of which was from them! All of their hard work of saving that month had been in vain.
The family was very quiet on the way home from church. But then they decided that they weren't going to spend the money on a Thanksgiving dinner or anything else. Instead, they sent the money off to a local charity. Again, they felt good, because they knew they had made a difference for someone, after all!
The point is, when we have children in our lives who are always being handed things, we need to show them that they have something special to give, as well.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

1 comment:

mom2amara said...

Nicki, hope you had a wonderful holiday!