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Preparing Our Hearts and Home for a Season of Thanks

As soon as we roll into the month of October, I become giddy. People around me are often reminiscing about how awesome the summer was and how they just aren’t ready for the cold mornings and the early sunsets. I can’t relate, though, because the early sunsets and cold mornings tell me that fall is here, Thanksgiving is coming, and Christmas is around the corner. Call me weird if you want, but I get pretty excited.

Some may think my excitement is just about food, gifts and throwing parties, but it’s not. Sure, I love to eat (probably too much), and buying presents for my loved ones feels great, but I have other reasons for loving this season so much.

I try my best to practice gratitude year-round. It keeps me grounded and it helps me put everything in perspective. I believe a thankful heart is a happy heart, and I try to pass this on to my children. They are young, so it’s a lesson they will continue to learn with time, but the earlier they realize the importance of being thankful, the happier their lives will be.

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As we prepare for the months ahead, I am constantly thinking of ways to help our kids express gratitude. Of course it starts off with basic manners and those habits are enforced at school, but it’s not just about the words they say. It’s also about the things they do. How often do they share with each other, and do they do it with a positive attitude? How do they react when they don’t get exactly what they want? Do they realize what blessings exist in their lives?

I know my kids won’t understand many of these lessons right away, and that isn’t just okay, it’s expected. They are young and still finding their way in this world. But with time they will get it. If they see their mom and dad express gratitude consistently, they will soon realize the importance of it.

Last year, I created a gratitude bowl in my home, and I plan to do it again this year. I take a glass bowl that I decorate and I keep a pen and crayons next to it with small pieces of orange and brown construction paper. Every day each person in our family is responsible for taking a sheet and writing down something they are grateful for.

My husband and I try to do it consistently to serve as models. Our son is just learning how to write, so he asks us to help, and our daughter is just watching and coloring on her paper. There will come a day when the kids are both able to write down their thoughts of gratitude without help, and that habit will hopefully stay with them for years to come.

I also plan on having days where I create thank you cards with the kids to send to family members and friends. It’s important for them to realize that thanking people for what they have done for you or given you is not just about the verbal expression. Taking the time to make and mail a card shows that you want to go the extra step to express your gratitude in a creative way. In these days of technology, people appreciate that so much.

I’m still thinking of ways to highlight gratitude, not only during this season but year-round. I hope I come up with a few more ideas that will help us create a wonderful season of giving and thanks in our home, and I hope the lessons my kids learned over the years will serve them well in life.

Moms, what to you do in your homes to teach your children about being thankful?

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