A time to be thankful

I started this post at the beginning of June, but somehow never managed to finish it…anyway here goes!

Birthday time has come and gone and both I and my daughter C received some beautiful, thoughtful presents from family and friends.

It is a tradition in our family to write thank you cards at this time. Often the children will make the cards themselves, but my newly seven year old C wanted to buy a pack of cards and draw in them instead, so this is what she did. There were a lot of people to thank, so she took it in stages, doing a couple of cards a day ( ...or there won’t be enough time to play, mummy!)

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C drawing a little picture of the present she received.

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Here she is with her new roller skates and accessories 🙂

At C’s party, we made sure we opened the presents at the beginning so that the children could see her delight at receiving their gift and she could thank them in person ( sometimes I need to remind her still about saying thank you as she is so in awe of her presents and rather shy, she forgets!)

However we have gone to quite a few children’s parties where the birthday child doesn’t look at the presents until after the party, so my children haven’t been able to see them open the gift we gave them. Often we never even receive an acknowledgement of the gift or whether they liked it, let alone a thank you. Perhaps the child doesn’t even know who gave what gift, I am not sure?  Certainly it happens quite a lot, even in our immediate family and I must admit it doesn’t sit right with me. Of course the child may not think of saying thank you after the event, but I would hope that the parent would send out some form of acknowledgement or thanks, even if just a quick text message, on the child’s behalf, after all they must know that it takes some effort to go out and buy or make a suitable gift?

Are we losing the art to be thankful? What do you think?

Being thankful is so important in life, I feel. If someone does something for me, gives me a present or just shows kindness, I consider it important to recognise this gesture and express my thanks.

We try to incorporate moments to be thankful in our daily lives.

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Before our evening meal,  we sing our Blessing Song and during the meal, we each in turn say at least one thing that we enjoyed that day and one thing we are thankful for. The children struggled to begin with to think of something, but we kept modelling how to do it and now they happily regale us with the high points in their day.

Often melancholic children ( one of the four temperaments that are mentioned here by Steiner)  will come home and only speak about everything that went wrong in their day  or what they didn’t like rather than focus on the fun times they had and the things that went well. This is the case with my daughters, especially the eldest ( it doesn’t help that she is going through the nine year old change). I myself have a predominantly melancholic temperament so understand this, which is why I make sure I write a gratitude list every evening before I go to bed!  I list 10 things for which I am grateful: it’s a little ritual that I have been doing for over a year now. If I’ve had a  tricky day, it turns things around. I focus on the love, the joys and the blessings and trust that everything is as it should be.

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Talking of being thankful. I am realising that this little space here is also such a place; a place to embrace the joys of parenthood, my reverence for nature, my love of learning, my passion for making things, our journey in Waldorf education, the little triumphs and the small mercies and the magic of the everyday. Of course I could tell you of the discord, the sometimes incessant sibling squabbles, the moments I raise my voice in anger and regret it, the messiness of the daily life, which of course all happen, but I choose to focus here on the things that work, the things I am grateful for and to share the golden moments of our lives –  it is a constant reminder to me that there is so much to appreciate and be thankful for in life.

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In difficult times such as these, where news stories focus on fear, hatred and tragedy, I feel there is even more need to be thankful and to appreciate what we have; family, friendship, all our myriad of gifts. Now more than ever is the time to spread kindness, goodness and gentleness.

Since having children, I don’t watch the news as I am just too sensitive. I can take on all the anxieties and feel quite hopeless and powerless. I have felt this way since I was a little girl and as my children are also very sensitive, I make sure we never speak about anything that would scare or worry them and we never listen to the radio or watch television. I more or less know what is going on out in the big wide world, but I can’t watch the images…the Jack Johnson song Bad News really resonates with me…

Anyway I am certainly not here to spread bad news!  I want to share beautiful pictures and life affirming things, because we have been given this wonderful gift of life and there is much to be thankful for.

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I thank you for visiting and spending some of your precious time with me. 

 

 


 

4 thoughts on “A time to be thankful

  1. Pingback: Taking crafts on holiday | amothershares

  2. The receiving of gifts resonated with me. My eldest is having a birthday party in 2 weeks and I will get him to open the presents as he receives them. Because you are right, it is always at the end and I often find the child doesn’t know who gave what in the confusion. Or they don’t open presents until after everyone goes home! I have pinned this post for future reference. The thank you kind is such a wonderful idea. We do not live near family and although I am often disappointed and over whelmed with the mass produced toys we receive a thank you note with bridge the gap of long distance and different lifestyle choices.

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    • Thanks for your comment Zena. Hope the party goes well! I am only reading the comments today from two weeks ago! I think the other children love it when their friend opens the presents at the beginning. It creates a nice feeling if they all sit around in a circle. We did a little matching card game – each child receives a coloured ( or drawn) card at the beginning and when it comes to present time, my daughter drew a card from a matching set and then that child’s present was opened. It feels fair, not favouring anyone and the children have a sense of anticipation, rather than rushing it. Just an idea… Sometimes we need to prime our children to be thankful whether they like the present or not! Yes I have felt the same about some family presents….nowadays I tell my Mum and most family members what the children like and hope for the best, but they mean well and so many other children are hooked into the mass produced stuff, they think yours will be delighted too…there is always the charity shop! ( after the initial play, these sorts of things get boring…) Enjoy the party!

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