I constantly try to teach my three littles the importance of focusing on gratefulness. However, it seems as though I’m extra attentive to this during the Thanksgiving season. I want my children to grow up feeling blessed and thankful for what they have. None of this acting entitled and angry about what they don’t have. As a family of faith, we strive to teach gratefulness as a character trait in our home. Every year around this time, I gather my kids together and ask for their help in our Thanksgiving Thankfulness Book.
On a whim a few years ago, I pulled out an unused drawing scrapbook.
It sat blank on my bookshelf. I told Kid 1 about a fun idea which needed his help. He eagerly ran over to find out what I was up to. I placed his tiny hand on a blank page. We traced around his sweet little fingers and sweaty palm. As I retraced the hand outline with a colored marker, I asked him to tell me a few things he was thankful for that year. He listed Mom, Dad, and his little brother. Next, I drew around Kid 2’s tiny hand and asked him the same question. His precious 17-month-old answer was Mom and Dad. I wrote down several things for my thankfulness list, labeled the top of the page with the year, and placed the book back on the shelf.
A year later, I pulled out the book and repeated the same thankfulness process with my boys.
Their answers became a little more elaborate that year. Additionally, we added the teeny tiny handprint of my 4-month-old daughter. I had much to be thankful for. And I wanted to document to make sure my kids and I stayed aware of our blessings.
The book has proven to be an extremely simple but profoundly sweet and effective way for everyone in our family to see how our thankfulness (and our hands) grows with each passing year. I must admit, as a mom, it’s a slightly bittersweet tradition that I’ve started. Because someday, in the not-so-distant future, there will no longer be small handprints on the page—but instead traces of hands that will be bigger than my own.