Thankful Thursday: Encouraging Thankfulness in Children

     For the last six years, our family has been privileged to be part of a wonderful church family, led by three teaching elders, who I want to honor, saying I am very thankful for them this Thankful Thursday (click on this link to read posts from other thankful hearts).  These men and their families epitomize 1 Timothy 3:1-13.  My husband suggested that we express our thanks to them a few years back in a way which would also teach our children thankfulness. That year was the first.  At Thanksgiving time, each of us writes a note of thanks to each of the three men, specifically mentioning the character qualities, spiritual gifts and things they’ve done for which we’re grateful.  Sometimes we include a money gift, (you don’t have to give anything, but if you want to, some other ideas are a coupon for a meal or babysitting; a bookmark; or a grocery store, restaurant or Christian bookstore gift card.) Then we place these notes, written individually and in our own hand, in a Thanksgiving card and give them to our elders the Sunday before Thanksgiving.  People in leadership who rule well should be thanked at least.  1 Timothy 5:17 says, “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the Word and doctrine.”  These men divide the Word of Truth rightly, patiently and lovingly shepherd the flock, rule their households well and are faithfully walking with the Lord.    

Thank you, Lord, for Mark, Mike and David and their families, and for the many ways you’ve blessed my family and the families of our church through them!

This Week’s Thanksgiving Resources
(see past Thankful Thursday posts for other resources or scroll down to the bottom)
“N. C. Wyeth’s Pilgrims” (Text by Robert San Souci.)  A wise friend and homeschooling consultant advised me when our children were young to choose books not only for their reading content, but also for their illustrations, artwork, and photographs. I took her advice, and we have been the richer for it.

This is a beautiful book by artist N. C. Wyeth, about the pilgrims which will help your children learn to appreciate fine art, by the illustrator who’s best known for illustrating Treasure Island and Robin Hood.

“…If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620” by Ann McGovern.  This short paperback book in the “…If You” series helps children understand what it might have been like to travel on the Mayflower and live in that day in a short, sweet, easy to digest way.
“Pilgrim’s First Thanksgiving” by Ann McGovern. This book gives children a “taste” of what it was like to be at the First Thanksgiving.
“If You were…at the First Thanksgiving” by Anne Kamma. For younger readers, ages 4-8. 
“Mayflower 1620: A New Look at a Pilgrim Voyage” by Peter Arenstam. Photos from the Mayflower II. (Parents watch: The authors state that some things were taken from the Indians, and that the Pilgrims didn’t have respect for them, without noting that Wm. Bradford’s journal tells us that the plan was to pay them when they could identify the rightful owner.) Ages K-4.
“Tapenum’s Day: A Wampanoag Indian Boy in Pilgrim Times” by Kate Waters.  Another in this series which utilizes wonderful photographs from Plimouth Plantation, this book tells the story of a young Indian boy.
Activities
Hand Turkey Placecards Start with a half sheet of white card stock.  Fold it in half.  On a piece of red construction paper, trace your child’s hand outstretched like a turkey.  Cut out the hand, glue or tape it to the cardstock (it’s alright if it sticks up at the top) and you or old enough children can write the names of each guest who will be at the table on Thanksgiving Day.  (You might want to have him or her practice on a separate piece of paper, or you can have them write the names on another piece of the white cardstock, cut them out and glue or tape them onto the hand “turkeys.” (Options: You can change the colors of cardstock, construction paper and writing to coordinate with your table, or even use a different color for each of your children, or each guest.) 
Step 2: If you like, the children can write a special note of thanks to each guest on the inside of the card–these will be treasured keepsakes.
Make a small gift for your neighbors Candy corn and dry roasted peanuts mixed together make a fun and easy gift that even your youngest children can mix themselves to tell your neighbors that you appreciate them.  Scoop some of the mix into baby food jars, or canning jars, put a piece of pretty calico fabric on top with ribbon or rubber band; or scoop into little bags, and tie with colorful fall-colored ribbon or yarn.  You can write a short message of thankfulness for “good neighbors” or communicate your thanks in person as you go with the children door-to-door to deliver!

7 Replies to “Thankful Thursday: Encouraging Thankfulness in Children”

  1. Thanksgiving is possible only for those who take time to remember; no one can give thanks who has a short memory.
    ~Author Unknown

    I really like this quote. Thanks for sharing. Phyllis

    1. How horrible if our memories fade out, because we haven’t practiced remembering the good things, and we become ungrateful, miserable, and complaining people. Everyone is so busy these days, I think we have to work extra hard to take time to remember to be thankful. Otherwise, we’ll reach the end of our lives, making memories, but never stopping to enjoy them!

  2. Hi Nancie and Welcome! One of these men is known for saying, “We're a forgetful people,” and it is easy to forget to be thankful, but God repeatedly tells us in His Word to remember (Forget not) all His benefits! I'm thankful for your words–they blessed me, and now I will head over and visit your site:) Thanks for visiting and for your kind comments. Come again soon.
    Wendy

  3. Hi Wendy, it is encouraging to read of how God has blessed your family with a wonderful church family and godly men as leaders. So sweet of your family to show your gratefulness by encouraging these men who serve God. Surely they are encouraged to press on in their labours for our Lord. Thanks for sharing this lovely post with us. Take care and may God bless your family always.

    Blessings,
    Nancie

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