My children are still fairly little – 6 1/2, 4 1/2, 2 1/2 and the baby will be 1 at the end of the month (boo hoo!). They are still in the stage of learning to be thankful. And as their mom and teacher, it’s my job to help them develop a thankful heart.
There are simple ways we do this everyday: I require a ‘thank you’ when meals are served or when I’ve helped get the puzzles down from the top shelf. I also remind them to say ‘thank you’ to their siblings when they’ve helped each other tie shoes or hold the dust pan.
Right now they are in the rote stage of thanks. They say it only because I require it. Eventually they will move past that and be able to understand when someone has gone out of their way to help them. They’ll understand when someone has sacrificed their time or money for their success or well-being.
Thankfulness is an issue of the heart. I want my children to have humble, grateful hearts, not hearts of entitlement or greed.
But working on those character traits is a daily thing, isn’t it? Sometimes hourly! And honestly, it is sometimes my heart that needs to be more thankful. It’s interesting how God often uses our school time at home to refine my character and not my children’s. I didn’t know I had signed up for that when we started our homeschooling journey. But I am grateful that He’s not finished with me.
Implementing the Thankful Tree
So during this Thanksgiving Season, the kiddos and I are filling our Thankful Tree with leaves each day. We each choose one person or thing that we are truly grateful for, write it on our leaf and then tape it to our Thankful Tree.
My son and I made the tree out of brown construction paper. Then, he drew our leaf template using this maple-leaf tutorial. I copied the leaf on different colors of paper and cut out enough for us all to have one each day.
After our Bible study in the morning, we each talk about what we’re grateful for. Their initial answers this week have been “God”, “Mama”, “Daddy” and “Mawmaw’”. I’m sure Legos and baby dolls will be mentioned soon, as they are favorites around here! I’m thrilled that they actually thought of God and people though before they moved along to more material possessions.
How do you help your children develop thankful hearts? I’d love to hear your ideas!
I’m pleased to link this post to Thankful Thursdays at Three Thinking Mothers.