November is here and I think it’s my favorite month of the year. In Phoenix it has FINALLY cooled down. We get to spend days at the park and the NBA and the NFL are both on at the same time. And if you care, even the MLB is on too! I thoroughly love the anticipation of Thanksgiving and Christmas.
It seems we spend most of November getting ready to shop for Christmas. I am a glutton for punishment on Black Friday, but I only participate from behind a screen. Really, it’s just safer that way!
Above all, I love that for at least a few weeks, the entire country is focused on being thankful.
Commercials speak of this trait. Churches preach on this trait. People are just all around a little more gracious. In an effort to keep the thankfulness going I take serious pride in raising thankful kids. Not that we don’t talk about being thankful other times of the year, because we do. I just love the focus, the intentionality that November brings.
A few years ago, I had time for Pinterest and I came across a “Thankful Tree” idea.
I instantly loved it and got right to work. There are hundreds of variations of thankful trees, but I want to share mine. It has changed over the years, but the fun hasn’t!
I get a fall leaf stencil and make one leaf per day in November (that’s 30). Just trace and cut – super simple.
Then each morning at breakfast or that evening at dinner everyone gets to share what they are thankful for. We write down their answer, no matter how ridiculous. Even when our kids were little and couldn’t say real words I would write down their babble. They noticed, and you can’t convince me they didn’t know they were included.
Then I use blue painters’ tape to tape the leaf to the wall in the kitchen. By the end of the month we have a great smattering of leaves all over the wall that remind us that we have so very much to be thankful for.
My husband and I try to take the lead and say things other than material things – neighbors, friendship, forgiveness, family, health, etc. I used to think the kids would copy me, but they don’t.
They spend the first few weeks naming all their toys or material things. And that’s ok; it’s what they are thankful for at ages 8, 6, 4, and 3. But somewhere around November 15, they have to dig a little bit deeper. They start to become thankful for people – their best friend, their teacher, their Grandma. It’s sweet to see them talk about the important people in their life.
I wish I could tell you they soon start repeating the things my husband and I have said, but they don’t, and I don’t care.
I’m teaching a concept – thankfulness, and that looks different for everyone. My prayers is that they grow and mature and SOMEDAY echo our sentiments, but for now we simply celebrate being thankful.
Disclaimer: We miss days very often. The kids have joked that sometimes I make them give me rapid fire thankfulness. I’m known to miss 3-4 days in a row and then do them all at once. I even had to start writing the date on the leaf so I could figure out when the last day we actually did it was. So, I think this year, on November 1, I’ll be thankful for imperfection.
Happy November, Thanksgiving, and Thankfulness month from my family to yours!