So every year we have a Thanksgiving tree. Its our way of having a visual aid to remind us of all that we have to be thankful for. It's also a really great art project for the kids and I to do together. We work on our tree for about an hour and they get to draw, dream of ideas, cut and tape it all together.
Here is our tree!
Notice the bike lane on the road. Clearly Middle has grown up in Mpls where bike lanes are everywhere! Ha! It made me laugh out loud.
Our twist this year as we, like so many others, are trying to be thankful, is that we have two different colored leaves.
The green leaves are for what we want to thank God for that day. Notice I didn't just say, what we are thankful for, but what are going to Thank God For. Small word change, but huge implications. I believe scripture when it says, that every good and perfect gift comes from God. So, if all blessings come from heaven, then its important to give credit where credit is due. I don't just want thankful children, I want children who praise God for every good thing in their life.
The red leaves are for how we can be a blessing to others. I was thinking about how great it is to be thankful, but what if we focused on how we could be what others were thankful for? So that is our challenge each morning. My kids need to think about a blessing they received that day that they want to thank God for, but then I ask them how they can be a blessing to someone else. This can seem like a pretty big concept for little people. So each day I have the kids pick one person they would like to try to be a blessing for. Then we brain storm some ideas of how they can be a blessing to their teacher, their friends, their sister, a stranger, etc.
I think this is a wonderful way to help encourage children to be outward focused. To think about how we can be a vessel for joy, for thanksgiving, for love, for hope to those around us.
Anyway, I hope this post doesn't make you feel frustrated if you don't do one, or maybe you think its overkill. You don't need a tree to talk about this, you don't need to do it everyday. Talking about it once a week still is an opportunity to focus on how to be a blessing for someone else. This can be done with children, roommates, friends, spouses and co-workers.
So, don't just be thankful, but thank the one who blesses you. And if you have a little time in the next few days, find a way to bless someone else. Be the vessel that brings a little bit more of love into the brokenness.