Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thankful with Attitude

My girl turned 7 last week.

I'm still reeling from the shock of it all, but I am working on getting a birthday post up someday soon (hopefully before she turns 8 which, at this rate, will be, like, tomorrow. THEY GROW UP SO FAST!).

Okay, I'm over it.

Anyway, I wrote this for our MOPS newsletter and thought I would post it here too. Sorry if you're reading it twice. :-)

One of my mom's favorite "punishments" for her 4 whiny children was to order us to: "name ten things you are thankful for." (really, she probably only made us do it a few times, but to a kid that's a lot!). Sounds like she let us off easy, doesn't it? Seriously, when my 2 start the whine fest, all I want to do is send them somewhere AWAY from me. I have a very low whine tolerance. It's the truth.

As kids, we were usually disgruntled and mad that we didn't get our way, and our typical first few "thankful for's" included things like, "the air," "my pants," "boogers," and other such sarcastic drivel.

But, what eventually happened, what always happened, and what my wise mother knew would happen (or at least she hoped!) is that by number 4 or 5, we really started to name those things that truly mattered, those things for which we were truly grateful - our family, our home, our health, etc. And, low and behold, the earlier gripes were forgotten, and our moods were lightened (usually, anyway!).

As a kid, I used to HATE doing this, and swore that I would NEVER make MY kids do this.

Well, never say never.

While I haven't yet employed the "thankful list" as a punishment per se, I have started to make an effort at encouraging my children to appreciate those blessings around them that they take for granted every day, and as Thanksgiving nears, we have begun a tradition in our home to help us be thankful more than just one day every year.

Two balls of Styrofoam, a pair of googly eyes, and a wattle and beak made from construction paper make up our very own Tom the Thankful Turkey. Every November he arrives in our home, and as each day passes, we fill out Tom's tail with construction paper feathers filled with "thankful for's" as we count down the days until Thanksgiving.

The kids LOVE doing this each night, and the contributions are always entertaining. Ben's "thankful for's" are always my favorite: "homework, the sun, Big Doggy, apple crisp, Popsicles."

My "thankful for's" of course always include my family, my friends, my home, but I also include things like "coffee," "chocolate," and this past week, I included "antibiotics" too. :-)

What are you thankful for, and how do you remind yourself and your family to be thankful every day?

There are many days the whiny little kid of so many years ago still shows her face in my mirror, and I'm always surprised at just how easy it is to forget everything for which I have to be grateful. Hopefully, with a little practice, we can all remember to be thankful for all our blessings without it having to be a punishment.


Kelly said...

When I went to SC with you guys on vacation your parents made us do that in the car! haha
Good times!
Love the turkey idea, I might steal that one. My kids NEED a dose of thankfulness!

Carron said...

Loved to read this in the MOPS newsletter & have already decided to adopt this fun tradition into our own family! :)

Thanks Naomi, for all that you do for us at MOPS!!

Naomi said...

Ha! Yes, Kelly, thanks for the vindication. :-) I knew it happened more than once... that's hilarious that they made you do it too. Just shows how much you were just one of the family then. :-)

And Carron, thanks for the sweet words. :-)

The Stums said...

I, too, am inspired, Naomi. I feel a Tom Turkey is in our future. Thanksgiving is quickly becoming my favorite holiday.

MamaBear said...

Great idea, Naomi! It made me think of a favorite quote:

"Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return."