I want to raise thankful children. Children who appreciate without being told to. Children who say thank you without prompting. Children who don’t expect to receive, but are abundantly grateful when they do.
As people, we usually forget to be thankful, and in turn, we forget to model it for our children.
We complain about the dishes in the sink instead of being thankful for the food served on those dishes.
We complain about the loads of laundry waiting to be folded instead of being thankful for the clothes God has provided for us.
We complain about the messy lived in rooms instead of being thankful that we have a home to live in.
We complain about the noise instead of being thankful for the people God has given to us to live life with.
Then suddenly November rolls around and we remember all of the things we have to be thankful for. We fill our Facebook feeds with thankful posts for the entire month of November… or until Thanksgiving arrives and then we move on to all of the things we want for Christmas.
This year, I want my children to develop a thankful heart not just in November but all year long. I want it to transcend beyond November. I want it to be a daily thing. I want thankfulness to be on our minds daily, not just once a day but all day. Can you imagine the change that will happen in our attitudes if we lived a thankful life?
To make this a visual lesson, I made the Thankful Tree out of construction paper (mine was free handed with die cut leaves, but we have an easy download for you). It is designed to be used not just in November, but from September through November. Our goal is that every evening at dinner, we will write on a paper leaf something we are thankful for and then share it. Our little guy can’t write yet, so he tells us what he’s thankful for and we write it down for him. We have already laughed, “oohed and aahed” over something really good that someone was thankful for, and high fived when we have found ourselves being thankful for the same thing.
Being thankful changes the atmosphere in a home. There are fewer “I wants” and more “I have.” There are more smiles and fewer whines. And with Christmas coming around the corner with its wish lists and grand expectations, I’m thankful that I have the opportunity to develop an atmosphere of thankfulness in our home first.
For the trunk:
6 pieces brown construction paper
1 piece black construction paper
Template for tree branch found here
For the leaves:
Template found here
Brown, yellow, red, orange, and green construction paper
Tape four pieces of brown construction paper length-wise together to make a long trunk. Use scissors to cut the long sides of the paper to make the trunk slightly jagged and more tree-like.
Branches, Leaves, & Tree Hole:
Print out the branch templates on brown construction paper. Cut out and paste at the top of the trunk. Cut a "hole" out of black construction paper and paste in the center of your trunk.
Print out as many leaves as you need to fill your tree. Cut them out, or if your children are old enough, supervise as they cut out the leaves.
Use a marker to write what you are thankful for on your leaves.