I have vivid memories of a childhood Thanksgiving tradition that still impacts me today. Set at each place on the Thanksgiving table, along with the fancy china and silver, there was always a small cup containing five candy corns. At the end of the meal, we went around the table and each person shared five things for which they were thankful that year. The candy corns symbolically helped us “count our blessings” as children and were a fun treat at the end of the meal. I have continued the tradition with my family, but also with my students. Most of my students have all that they need and lots more, as do I. I think it is important to help children develop a spirit of gratefulness and thankfulness, rather than teaching them to expect that they will have all of their desires met. Preschoolers are not too young to start to recognize that not everyone has the material riches they do. It is also not too early to talk about the difference between needs and wants and to encourage them to be generous.
Over the last couple of weeks, we have talked extensively about thankfulness. Several children’s books helped introduce us to the depth of things for which we can show our thanks. One of my favorites is The Thankful Book by Todd Parr. The children easily said they were thankful for presents and toys, but as we looked deeper, we noticed there were many other people and things in our lives that were blessings. We sang about being thankful (listen at the bottom of the post) and shared ideas about thankfulness with each other. Then, this morning, I gave each child five candy corns and I waited to see what they would say. As we went around the circle and each child shared from his/her heart, I had to hide the tears that quickly flooded my eyes. Their responses were so pure and far removed from the worry and doubt I sense from our nation at this time. I strive to be thankful in all things, but it has been a struggle this month with family stressors, the election and growing wildfires surrounding our area. Despite our current condition, we still have many blessings. My four and five year olds counted their candy corns and their blessings with these, and other responses:
I am thankful for:
- my house
- my brothers and sisters
- my teacher
- true love
- my family
- our country
I hope you will be thankful this season and throughout the year, and let your children see your expressions of gratitude.
Beautiful- thank you for sharing! Have a wonderful holiday!
Thank you for sharing your thankfulness and your students’. I’m thankful for their teacher and all she does for them.