In a parenting seminar at our church years ago our Pastor and his wife explained a family tradition that they had started when their kids were young. Their family had a “Thankful Box,” and every day in November they would write what they were thankful for and add it to the box. Then on Thanksgiving they would read all of their slips of paper. It was a good reminder of how blessed they were and how God was taking care of them.
Thankfulness is one character trait that we feel is important for our children to possess. We want them to be grateful in all circumstances. Our third born, Luke, is the most grateful child I know. He quickly offers thanks – often with great emotion. Every time Luke prays, he either thanks God for something or thanks Him for what he wishes to happen in the future. “Dear Jesus, Thank-you that we get to go on a bike trail today.” “Thank-you that we get to spend the day with our friends.” “Thank-you for this beautiful day.”
Nate and I decided that this would be a good family tradition to adopt for our family. At the end of October we decorated a shoe box covered in a paper bag.
Stickers, stamps and markers are all brought out. Each child gets a side to decorate as they wish.
We make slips of paper to write on. Some years it is a blank strip of paper, some years they are decorated…it just depends on how much time I have to get it ready. This year we did a little extra and I let the kids pick their “thank-you” stamp to use on their paper. We used neon-colored index cards that were left over from another project. Man, are they bright!!
Then on November 1st we start. At night each kid gets to tell why they are thankful and we add the slip of paper to the box. Sometimes we do this at bedtime and sometimes at supper. We try to encourage the kids to say something different each night. We encourage them to think about their day – was there something good that happened that makes you grateful? We also think back to what has happened over this last year: All our trips, adventures, outings, friends, family and what has made us thankful. It is always fun to see what is special to them. I’m always surprised that the simplest things seem to matter the most to them.
I encourage you to spend the month of November focusing on being thankful. Whether you do something official like the “Thankful Box” or just discuss it periodically with your family over a meal, figure out something to do! You will be reminded about God’s provision and love for you and your family. You will be encouraged and strengthened, and you will be blessed by your child’s heart. I also encourage you and your spouse to participate in the activity. It is good for our children to hear why we are thankful too. Think of character traits of each family member that make you grateful. Think about where God provided for a need, a word of encouragement or guidance.
What ways do you bring thankfulness into the Thanksgiving season??
1 Chronicles 16:8 (NLT) Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what He has done.
1 Chronicles 16:34 (NLT) Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever.
Psalm 92:1 (NLT) It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to the Most High.
Psalm 100:4 (NLT) Enter His gates with thanksgiving; go into His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name.
Ephesians 5:20 (NLT) And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Colossians 3:15 (NLT) And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV) Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.