Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Our Thankful Tree

Gratitude. What a tremendously important lesson to teach little ones. 

This is only the second year we've made our "thankful tree" but I hope to make it a lasting tradition. 

We like to take a trip to the park and hunt for the perfect twigs for our tree and this year it was as though they were just waiting for us! I can't get over how beautiful they are. As for the leaves, last year I hand cut them from yellow, red and orange construction paper (not so much fun) but this year I came across the prettiest bag of them at the dollar store. Whoo-hoo for a time saver! I am so thankful for the Dollar Tree! :) 

We usually add a few leaves to the tree each morning during our breakfast and devotion time but recently Gabriella will randomly ask me throughout the day to add things like,

...while she's walking through the house humming she'll excitedly say "mommy, I have something we can add to our tree, MUSIC!!!"

...after waving to our neighbors across the street she'll come close and whisper "let's add our neighbors to our tree Mommy" (they really are wonderful neighbors, we are so thankful)

...or my favorite, just the other night after dinner, Gabriella says "Oh mommy, mommy! I have something to add to our thankful tree!!!....I'm thankful for Jesus of the Christ" Yes, Jesus of the Christ. I had to ask her twice too. Haha! It was just as precious as it sounds! That would be the 4th time we've added Jesus to our tree but really, could we ever be thankful enough for him? {big sigh} 

And I just can't leave out Mikey. Although he may not understand completely, every time we talk about what we are thankful for he blurts out "and mommy and daddy and Gabby and Mikey and Siah (Josiah)". Oh how I love his adorable two year old self!  

So I think Gabriella's got it...I think she's found her heart of gratitude and my Mikey is well on his way...for that, I am so thankful.

Although there has been a lot of talk in our home recently about being thankful, I don't think our "tree" or our talks are most efficient in teaching it. I do hope the deliberate discussion and act of writing down what we're thankful for is helpful but what I really long for is that my little loves catch ME "teaching them" gratitude...teaching them daily as they hear me say grace, thank a stranger for holding a door open, Josiah for his sweet cuddles, Mikey for his tender kisses and Gabriella for her companionship. I pray they catch me thanking God for patience, for the birds singing and the sun shining. I pray they hear gratitude during bedtime prayers as we thank God for the day's blessings and thank him for carrying us through. I pray they soak up God's favor and thank Him for every special gift. I pray they learn to be truly grateful... knowing that if it weren't for HIM, we'd have NOTHING. My prayer is that I lead by example. Let it be I who sets gratitude into action.

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