Monday, November 14, 2011

Growing Thankfulness

*Today's Guest post is brought to you by Tricia from The Planet Pink*

I'm pretty sure than no parent hopes in their deep heart of hearts that their children grow up to be selfish.  I mean, it's not like John and Marsha gaze at each other with a sense of achievement as little Bobby throws a temper tantrum in the middle of Target because they won't buy him the latest Lego mini figure.  

Of course not.  That's when I'm looking around for the nearest hole to jump in.

We all want our kids to exude gratefulness.  We all want them to show expressions of thankfulness.  Especially around this time of year.  But that desire is so often stifled by the reality that kids, in general, want what they don't have.

Personally, I've found myself at the end of my proverbial rope many times with my own children, frustrated because I've tried to provide them with everything they need, only to be told at the end of the day that today wasn't good because we didn't do x, y and z or because they didn't get a,b or c.

When did we start judging the worth of a day on what we got?

I'm seeing now that no amount of lecturing, no amount of scolding, no amount of cajoling is going to convince my girls that they have it good.  They simply have to see it for themselves.

Enter: The Thankful Tree

I stumbled across this while perusing one day (ah, Pinterest, how I love thee!) and I was immediately drawn to the idea.  Like so many other "Pinspirations" that cross my path, I knew I wanted to recreate this one.

So I've been planning for weeks, collecting supplies, willing the weather to cooperate so it feels like fall.  I am so excited to unveil this Thanksgiving activity to the girls.  But unlike the one in the picture, ours won't be plain circles.  Our leaves are empty, awaiting inscription.  Words of thankfulness, thoughts of gratefulness.  Whatever it is that particular day that we are happy for, on our leaves it will be written.

Because I didn't want to just do this on my own.  It would be a pretty decoration for sure.  But my hope is that by giving my girls ownership in this task that soon our tree will be adorned with many leaves of different shapes and sizes, all decorated with words of thankfulness, scrawled out in 4 year old handwriting.  I can tell my girls what they SHOULD be thankful for, but that's not nearly as meaningful as allowing them to consider and decide for themselves.

I'm fully expecting a few leaves with the words "dolls" or "toys" and possibly, maybe, "sisters".  But hopefully we get some that go a little deeper.  And as each day passes and we come up with more and more things to be thankful for, I sincerely hope that our tree serves as a beautiful reminder of all the wonderful blessings in our lives.

I have no doubt that I am still going to experience several more temper tantrums in Target.  But maybe I'll be able to handle them better if I know that deep down my children are capable of expressing thankfulness and that this one moment in time is not a reflection of who they are or a prediction of who they are going to be.  They're kids.  I'm doing my part by giving them the seeds of thankfulness, helping them water and hopefully in time, watching their trees grow.

Thank you for sharing...

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