Thankfulness

Back in May, my Mom gave me the book 1000 Gifts by Ann Vaskamp. Although the book itself wasn’t my favorite (she has a really unique writing style), I LOVED the idea of recording what I am thankful for. The thing is that it is not just what I am thankful for, but finding the little things TO BE thankful for. Like the wind in the trees. The moment of weeping with my husband that leads to that tear-covered kiss at the end of an argument. The sound of the pavement smacking against my running shoes. Those LITTLE things that explode with beauty once we start to think about them.

This summer, I had a class of 17 students who had just graduated from Kindergarten (6-7 yrs old). These students come from fairly privelaged backgrounds wealth-wise. They have TVs in their bedrooms, their own iPads, their own pools in the backyard, more American girl dolls than I could have dreamt about at their age, every Skylander in the book, every Pokeman card that could wish for, McDonald’s when they ask for it, their own bedrooms in a household of 6, etc. etc.

Yet they don’t know the art of thankfulness. I can’t say that I knew it at that age, either, but these students to me were in a bad way in the realm of thankfulness for things. They have a very entitled attitude that comes with their family background, and this generational way of thinking. Even as Christians, their parents seem to teach them that they are entitled to everything. God loves you, so He will give you what you want/need. We (as parents) love you so we will give you what you want. You deserve to get what you want. You deserve the whole world.

And while I believe this, I have reservations about teaching our children this. I believeΒ  that children NEED to hear “You is smart, you is important”. I believe that children need to be built up in a positive way; a way that gives them self-confidence and a respect for themselves. But I also believe that children need to be told they are sinners. That they sin. And that there is nothing that they can do about it.

Except Jesus.Β 

Anyways, back to the whole thankful thing. Starting at the beginning of the summer, every day I would sit down with the kids and have devotions. Part of devotions was that they had to say one thing they were thankful for that day. At the beginning of the summer, I got a lot of these answers:

Me: What are you thankful for today?

Student: The world.

Me: Oh, why are you thankful for the world?

Student: Because we live on it.

After a few days, I would try to prompt more out of them. “What is your favorite part of the world?” Or “Why do you think we live on the world?”

It was a great exercise for me in thankfulness, and I think that the students actually enjoyed it. They would fling their hands up in the air at devotions time faster than I could say “what are you thankful for?”

Here is our list:

1. Dogs

2. My Mom and Dad

3. God

4. My Family

5. Trees so that we can breath

6. That God takes care of us

7. Mrs. Suzanne

8. The world

9. Animals

10. Bananas

11. My Cousins

12. Chairs so that we can sit on them

13. Our class

14. Dandelions for blowing and eating

15. That we are all unique

16. Jesus- that he died for us

17. Not getting sick yesterday

18. My Grandma’s life

19. Emily is back from vacation!

20. Owen because he is my friend and he helps me get through stuff

21. The sunshine

22. The pool is open!

23. That I know 9×5

24. My dog because he helps to take care of us

25. That our Moms and Dads got married and had us

26. Dresses

27. That Maggie was born

28. High heels

29. BCLC (our school)

30. Baseball shoes

31. Our noses so that we can breath and smell

32. That we live on earth

33. The birds that sing in the morning

34. The ice truck came to school today!

35. Blue flowers

36. Our eyes so we can see our friends

37. Bike day

38. Cows that make milk

39. Legs to ride our bikes

40. Rain to water the flowers

41. Houses to live in

42. Tress that give us food- like apples

43. The 50 states because we live in them

44. Sadie my friend

45. Sunglasses

46. Legos

47. Baseball bats

48. Addison

49. Teeth so we can chew

50. Christmas

51. Giraffes because we can ride them (????)

52. Snap-dragons

53. The parade on Thursday (for 4th of July)

54. The weekend at my lakehouse

55. Folding origami

56.That I can see colors

57. Myself

58. Safety in the big storm last night

59. Despicable Me 2

60. Kentucky fireworks

61. Black labs

62. Refrigerators

63. Heaven because my dog went their this weekend

64. Our food, especially chicken tenders

65. Chocolate

66. Books like The Magic Tree House

67. Restaurants especially Sonic

68. The Air Force (we live right next to a base; most parents work on base)

69. The Bible

70. Air conditioning

71. Ears that we can hear

72. Water

77. That we get to go to the pool

78. That we get to go to church

79. Freedom

80. The Army

81. That Jesus was born

82. Rules

83. That God is the best God ever

84. Light so we can see

85. The ground

86. Rainbows

87. Books to read

88. Being able to hear voices

89. Sunscreen so that I don’t get sunburnt

90. Coloring books so we can color

91. iPads because I love electronics

92. Jewelry

93. Electricity after the storm

94. Mirrors

95. Tomato Soup

96. Chocolate Ice Cream

97. War that protects our country

98. Hoses that spray water

99. Justin Beiber

100. Swimsuits

I’ll leave you with that for now! Isn’t that beautiful that these students found SO MANY things to be thankful for??? And I LOVE their perspectives!

Β 

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