Remember when your children were very young, still toddling around and life was one hectic party of trying to simply keep those small people from physical harm on any given day?
“Don’t touch that, it’s hot!”
“Why are you on top of the refrigerator? How did you even get up there?!”
“No. No, we do not eat dirt.”
“The toilet is not where we play.”
Those days were hard, weren’t they? It seemed like a never ending dance just trying to keep up with those small, curious, rowdy little men, and I remember thinking, “It has to get easier.”
My little ones are bigger now and in many ways it has gotten easier. For the most part everyone has figured out how to play without bringing physical harm to themselves (although I did find my oldest son RUNNING ACROSS THE ROOF the other day with a Nerf gun in hand. “But, Mooooommmm! I’m sniping.” He then proceeded to ask me if he could just jump off the roof instead of climbing back down the ladder. *face palm*)
Now, however, this parenting gig has entered into a whole new training. Now we are in the heart training, and some days it feels as though we are on a battlefield.
The biggest lesson my husband and I are working on with our children is teaching them thankfulness. Be grateful for for all that you’ve already been given. This is training that happens year round, but I love it when the Thanksgiving season rolls around because thankfulness is suddenly on high alert.
A New Tradition
A few years ago, we began a yearly Thanksgiving tradition in which we write down everything for which we’re thankful throughout the month of November. I buy an 11×14 canvas at Michael’s and a few sturdy markers. We lay the canvas out on the counter at the beginning of the month. Throughout November, as we’re each struck with something for which we feel grateful, we write that down on the canvas so everyone can see.
I love everything about this new tradition, from the poor spelling and shaky penmanship of little hands, to seeing a true thankfulness for one another begin to spill out of their hearts.
My kids are like any other set of siblings. They fight like cats and dogs, and some days it seems like their bickering is unending. I often fret that they will grow up to loathe one another, but the Thanksgiving Thankfulness Canvases have given me a glimpse into the true love they have for one another.
“I am thankful for my brothers.”
“I am thankful for playing with my brother.”
“I am thankful for my family.”
These are just a few of the scribbles that cover the canvases, which I keep neatly stacked in a closet, and plan to hang on a wall someday when the kids are grown and gone, a reminder of the beauty in the battlefield.
A written record of thankfulness knits hearts and homes together.
Dear Lord, give us thankful hearts to see these hectic years as a gift. Help us as we work to teach our children how to love one another with grateful, thankful hearts.
1.) How do you foster an attitude of thankfulness in your children year round?
2.) Do you have any specific Thanksgiving traditions in your family?
Kelli Stuart is a writer and a mom of four who spends most of her days shuttling children from one event to another in her smokin’ hot minivan. For years, Kelli perfected the art of the starving artist by ghost writing, editing, and writing newsletters back when newsletters were actually printed on paper. In 2004 Kelli co-authored the book Dare 2B Wise with Joe White, and from there began to focus heavily on her own novel, which she hopes to see published in 2015. In 2008, Kelli discovered blogging when her youngest was a newborn. She launched her first site, Minivans Are Hot, as a way to write about the often baffling and hilarious business of being a mother knowing that if she didn’t laugh at life, she just might cry. She’s recently transitioned to a new space online where she loves connecting with creative-heart moms to encourage them to continue developing and using their creative gifts for God’s glory! You can now find her at KelliStuart.com — Kelli currently lives in Tampa, Florida with her husband, her children, and the glorious beach.