For years and years, the tradition at our Thanksgiving dinner was to go one by one around the table, with each person announcing something for which they are thankful. And while my family still practices that tradition, we’re also trying to extend it throughout the entire month (and ideally, the year), so that it becomes a habit for us.
And we’re not the only ones. With the holidays right around the corner, many of us are counting our blessings a little bit more purposefully this November. Maybe you’re doing a 30-days-of-thankfulness project on your own blog, or Facebook page, or even your Instagram stream. Maybe you’re doing a thankful tree, advent calendar, or something similar at your home.
At our house, we have dedicated our giant kitchen chalkboard to sharing our gratitude with one another.
(Sadly, my kitchen walls are not painted with custom-mixed green chalkboard paint… my baby girl just thinks that every flat surface is fair game as her canvas. Good thing she’s cute.)
Our chalkboard is just an inexpensive poster frame from Michael’s (thank you, 40% off coupon!). I threw out the flimsy plexiglass and flipped the backing board over. I painted the smooth side with a few coats of chalkboard paint, let it dry, reassembled the frame, and then seasoned the board with chalk. Emily has a wonderful, easy-to-follow tutorial HERE if you’d like to follow suit!
I picked a pretty script font I liked for inspiration, and then just hand-lettered the best I could. Who cares if it’s not perfect?
At random points throughout the day, we ask the kids to tell us at least one thing they’re grateful for. And sometimes they take the initiative to write something else down whenever they feel like it, which always makes me smile. They’re getting it! The message is sinking in!
Lila is thankful for her brother and sister. And Grandma. And hugs.
Parker is grateful for Minecraft, soccer, pumpkin bread and leftover Halloween candy.
We assumed that Charlotte was thankful for her blankie and pacifier, which soothe her to sleep.
I am grateful for sweet tea, birthdays, date night, and a clean house.
Chris is glad we have healthy kids, and that the Oregon Ducks covered the spread last weekend.
As the month has progressed, our chalkboard has almost completely filled up! Now we’re squeezing in our blessings and writing smaller each time… but even that is a reminder of how incredibly fortunate we are, more so than we deserve to be.
While it’s pretty easy to list off the “big” things to be thankful for… our house, each other, our health, etc., we are also recognizing smaller and smaller blessings to be grateful for. Forgiveness, an extra hour of sleep, the kids’ allowance, our favorite books. I’m so happy to see the kids grab the chalk each day.
How are you teaching your children to be appreciative, especially this time of year? What ideas do you have to help extend the mindful practice of gratitude throughout the year as well?