This post is written by Dana Sue Hinkle, co-owner and founder of Creative QT and mom to five kiddos! Learn more about the Hinkle family and the heart behind Creative QT here.
“We are so blessed.” That is what I feel like I am constantly saying to my kids, reminding them of how much we have. We have a roof over our head, shoes on our feet, and food on our table. We. Are. Blessed. But why do we always look to what other people have and get discontented with what we have? I honestly think, the more me-focused I get, the more discontent I find myself. So how can I start looking outside of MYself? Outside of MY situation? And turn that attention on to someone else. A perspective change.
So here are a few things that we do this time of year to get our attention off of ourselves and onto OTHERS, or at least off of what we don’t have and onto what we DO have.
Create a Thankfulness Journal/Scrapbook. This is a journal I had made years ago, but I set it out at every Thanksgiving and ask everyone to record their name, age, and what they are thankful for that year. It is fun to go back and see what my kids have listed over the years. I also love to snap a group photo every year and include it in the book.
If you’d rather go digital, shoot a quick video of everyone saying a handful of things they are thankful for. Again, great to go back and watch through the years. Even last year, I listened to so many of us be thankful for heat, our furnace had gone out! Sometimes, we forget how much we appreciate something, until it is not there.
Legend has it that the first winter the Pilgrims food was so scarce that they sometimes received only five kernels of corn a day as a ration. After spring came, they planted more and had a bountiful harvest, but they laid out five kernels of corn on their plate to remind them of how blessed they were. We have done this in our family, where we set out five dried pieces of corn on each plate (or five pieces of candy corn) and then we take time before or during the meal to go around and say five things everyone is thankful for. We've also made personalized place cards for the family and glued the corn to those instead.
Especially if you have an eclectic gathering of family and or friends from different circles around your table this Thanksgiving, break the ice quickly with going around the table and having everyone share a moment from this last year that they are thankful for. Sometimes when we are asked to share what we are thankful for, as important as they are - we tend to rattle off “friends, family,” etc. Sharing a moment from this last year allows you to truly reflect on what you are grateful for and share a little bit about yourself with those around the table. One memory our kids often relive is when Mom and Dad let them re-create Snoopy's Thanksgiving meal of toast, jelly beans, popcorn and pretzels after watching Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving.
Spend several days, a week, or the month before Thanksgiving and try and serve or bless someone else every day. This can be anything from picking up the tab for the car behind you in the Starbuck’s drive-thru line to helping a neighbor with their yard work to writing an encouraging note to your mom/spouse/kid/etc. to just deciding to smile, make eye contact, and greet others warmly today.
Volunteer! Find a way to serve at a local food pantry, soup kitchen, or church. Our area has a food packing ministry that provides nutritionally complete meals specifically formulated for malnourished children and is sent out world-wide. Be sure to call ahead and check minimum ages to serve, so you can ensure the whole family can participate.
We are challenging our kids this year to find someone at school to help, be kind to, hold the door for, let them go in front of them in line, or go the extra mile with for the whole month of November. Then at the dinner table every night they have the opportunity to share how they served/blessed someone else that day. We have gotten everything from picking up trash on the playground to walking a kid to the nurse.
SMILE. I know I already mentioned this, but just making an honest effort to smile throughout the day, literally has a positive effect on your attitude. Smile at your family, friends, co-workers, classmates, mailman, and stranger at the store. A small thing that can make a big difference.
So, do I have dirty dishes in my sink as I write this? Yes. Laundry that needs folding? Always, yes. Am I sitting in my warm room on my cozy couch while drinking hot coffee? Yes. Then I am BLESSED, because those things mean that I had food today, clothes to wear, and a house to reside in. It just takes a change of perspective sometimes. Let Gratitude dictate our Attitude.
Creative QT® designs quality + innovative toys that declutter homes and inspire creative play. Founded by parents of five, Adam and Dana Sue Hinkle, Creative QT’s vision is to empower parents and encourage a culture of families that Make Time Together. All products are designed to enrich families’ lives through active, creative play and play based learning. Creative QT products are laboratory tested for compliance with CPSC requirements and are free of lead, cadmium and phthalates so you can play with confidence. So, go ahead … today is the day: be your kid’s hero.
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