Are you feeling overwhelmed by the season yet? It’s almost as if Thanksgiving is being passed over this year all together. Have you noticed that? I can’t find anything at Target for trendy decorations for Thanksgiving, it’s all been surpassed by Christmas…And the TV commercials? They are all Black Friday sales and “oh hey – we’re doing Black Friday early, buy now!” It makes me so sad and SO torn. As I would really like to be pushing my products more, I don’t want to saturate through Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving deserves it’s dues too. ESPECIALLY as our society becomes more and more materialistic.
I have found it particularly difficult with my 4-year old. He has begun this thing of asking for something every time we leave the house. We get in the car and he asks to stop at a gas station for a snack, he asks if he can get a toy from the store that we are in and last Sunday at Sunday School the teacher sent home a prayer magnet and it said “today Bennett prayed for________.” Toys. The blank said toys. OIY. And when we see any commercial on TV we hear the typical, “*GASP* I want that!” Which all of it is just so normal for a 4-year old, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there is anything wrong with him or belittle him for any of it. It is just how we as humans are wired, I have just been extra sensitive to it this year as I just REALLY long to teach my children the true reason for Christmas and to really be honestly THANKFUL and to be reflective of that during these couple of months.
When Bennett asks for things when we go to the store I have been trying really hard to think of constructive things to say other than “NO!” I try to say things like, “Bennett you have everything that you need at home.” or “We just can’t do it today, buddy,” or “We will have to talk to Daddy about it when we get home.” That usually helps to subside his asking and thankfully he has not given in to begging yet. Parker isn’t to the point yet of grasping the “I want, I want” that’s going on right now.
We end up having conversations about how he has everything that he needs and that Jesus has given him everything and he doesn’t need anything more. It blesses me so much that my son is sensitive enough to the prodding of Jesus that he accepts that he really doesn’t need the things that he is seeing. He has also been generous in his asking. He saw an ad on TV for a Barbie house and he ran to the kitchen pleading to get it for when his sweet friend Emma comes over so she will have something to play with. He can be so thoughtful and it just makes me smile that he thinks of his friends even in his wanting things.
If you are struggling with your kids needing more gratefulness in their lives I would highly suggest the book, “Growing Grateful Kids” by Susie Larson. She is wonderful and so full of wisdom! I think I’m like 4 chapters in and it just encourages me and speaks to my mama heart.
Another thing that I have been doing with Bennett and actually we started over a year ago now, I try to memorize Bible verses with him. A lot of them have been from the Psalms because they are short and full of praise to God. In honor of that, I made a little printable that you can download and print off and work on memorizing with your little one(s):
Last year when I began memorizing with Bennett we worked on the verses just with hand motions which made it SUPER fun for him and he got it down pretty well. I had to prompt him with the motions off and on but the truth was going to his heart. This year I have worked solely with repetition. It took him just 2 days. We would work on it at breakfast and then just before bed after prayers. After the first day I had him try to repeat it to me on his own and he needed prompting only with the reference. I suggest doing the reference at the beginning AND at the end. That way you kind of seal in the meat of the verse like a sandwich, it makes the reference easier to memorize with the verse.
We are also, as a family, focusing more on being thankful by giving to others. Andrew and I have been working really hard at finding different ways to bless other people this year and make it more about GIVING than getting. We cut our holiday budget to $20 per child (they do have birthdays RIGHT before Christmas) because they REALLY don’t NEED anything. Everything would just be EXTRA STUFF. While it’s good to give and there’s nothing wrong with giving things, we don’t want our boys to get stuck on “it’s Christmas what do I want?” We want them to think, “it’s Christmas, what can I give and who can I bless?” Since ultimately that is what God did in GIVING Jesus to us at Christmas.
Do you have any good ideas about teaching your kiddos thankfulness during this season? Any fun family traditions that you have begun that really teach the truth of the season? Any that you’ve heard of that you WANT to start?
Thanks for stopping in friend!