Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thank You Notes

So this year we started a new Thanksgiving tradition. Last week at Family Home Evening, we talked about all the people we're grateful for - from grandparents to teachers to garbage men. Then I pulled out all these thank you notes I have over from my wedding (sometimes things you save for 11 years actually do come in handy) and we all wrote thank you notes to the people who we're grateful for. The notes were simple and the little kids drew cute pictures. We had the older kids write at least one specific thing they were thankful for about the person they were writing to so the note could be more meaningful. It was a great exercise for them to have to think through what other people do for them and what they're specifically thankful for. I wrote some thank you notes too. I do thank you emails to people quite a bit - but a real handwritten note in the mail can be a nice thing once in a while. The kids complained a bit about the writing but once they got into it, everyone seemed to realize it wasn't too hard. And when they gave those notes out to teachers at school and teachers at church and various other people they're thankful for, they were so excited.

Another thing we've been doing to really get into Thanksgiving has been working on our prayers. The kids have really been in a rut lately with saying the same things in every prayer. I challenged them to start thanking the Lord for at least 3 specific things in each prayer between now and Thanksgiving. We've had to start quite a few prayers over to break out of some ruts - but it's been great to take the time to really work on our gratitude on our prayers lately.

I know all this extra focus on gratitude has certainly made me happier and it seems there's a happier feeling in our home. To a large degree, the extent to which we are grateful determines the extent to which we are happy.

In the spirit of all this, I sat down with Silas the other day and told him all the things I'm grateful for about him. I counted them off on his fingers, telling him a great thing about him as he held up each of his 10 fingers. My dad used to do this with me when I was a little girl and it made me feel so special. When I got done, Silas was beaming. Then he said it was his turn to tell me all the things he was grateful for about me. As he held up one of my fingers at a time, he told me these 10 things: (I had to stifle a few laughs and had to go write everything down quickly before I forgot.)
From Silas:
  • You're weawy good at giving me a kiss every morning.
  • You're weawy good at drawing your name. (he's been working on writing his name and I guess he's realizing that writing your name is quite a feat)
  • You're weawy good at turning on switches for the lights because you're weawy tall.
  • You have great eye sight. (I actually have horrible eye sight. Not sure where this one came from!)
  • You give me hugs.
  • You're good at planting plants and digging holes for plants. (I did have Silas help me with a bunch of pruning and planting last year - I guess he has fond memories of my occasional feeble gardening attempts - interesting to see what leaves an impression)
  • You are weawy weawy weawy excewunt at building our house with Jonah. (interesting he'd remember that my brother Jonah and I did a bunch of touch-up projects around the house before he moved)
  • You are weawy excewunt on drawing.
  • You are weawy weawy weawy weawy excewunt at telling stories.
  • As Silas finished his cute, random list, Oliver and Eliza came in and insisted on taking a turn as well. I can't turn that down!
From Oliver:
  • You're good at looking up stuff that I want you to do
  • You take me to school
  • Sometimes mommy and me have a mommy howidate (trying to say a combo of holiday and date?)
  • You're good at reading us magazines and the Friend
  • I like when she takes me in the car wash with the car
  • You're good at helping our friends
  • You're good at making toast and pancakes
From Eliza:
  • You're really good at typing fast
  • You're good at being a really good mom
  • You're good at noticing nature and pointing it out
  • You're good at art
  • You are a really good cook and give us vegetables so we're healthy
  • You read us really good books
  • You tell us stories about when you were a kid
  • You take us to museums and help me notice every detail so I can learn to paint really good
  • You drive me to school and give me after school snacks
  • You take pictures of us
  • You take us on lots of hikes
I hope you don't think I'm sharing this to say how great I am or how great my kids think I am. I'm recording this because 1) I want to remember what my kids think is great about me so it can strengthen me on the hard days, and 2) I want to remember how good it feels to express gratitude and hear others express gratitude for me.

I'm so grateful for gratitude!

1 comment:

shawni & linda said...

Hey, we wrote thank you notes for Thanksgiving too...our new tradition. Love it.

Love the lists your kids had for you.


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