Thursday, December 2, 2010

Giving Thanks the Kids' Way

Last week Alec brought home a craft that he made in school. It was a Thanksgiving placemat, and on it was the phrase, "I am thankful for..." Each child in the class picked something that they were thankful for to put on their placemat. Most of the kids put something like "Mommy" or "Family." But what did Alec put? Apples. I don't even want to think about what his teachers now think of me. At least he didn't put something like soda, cake, BB guns, or worse! I did see another placemat that said "Popcorn" so at least I know he's not the only child in his class who values snacks more than family.

Sometimes I try to look at things the way a child does so that I can understand where my kids are coming from. Take, for instance, Chase's toys. Today I was sitting on the floor with Chase while he was playing, and instead of playing with his toys, he wanted to play with my shoelaces. But if you look at it like he does, this makes sense. To him, a shoelace is just as new of an idea as a toy that lights up and plays music. At 8 months old, everything around him is something new and exciting, even if to us it's something that we use every day and don't even think think twice about.

So I guess I can understand where Alec was coming from with his thankfulness for apples. As an almost 3-year-old, he is just starting to understand the concept of being thankful. To him, being thankful means something that he is happy to have. And on that particular day he was happy that he had an apple. If he had done the craft on a different day, he could have been happy for Dora the Explorer, or swings, or the moon, or maybe even Mommy or Daddy.

Some days I think that kids have the right way of thinking. They have such open minds. They really see the world a different way than adults, and I don't think that's such a bad thing. They smile openly at people. They see almost everything as a game. While this may not always be the best way to think (and I think we all know adults who act like kids a little more than they should!), I think the world might just be a better place if adults thought like kids every once in a while.

When taking some time during the recent Thanksgiving holiday to think about what I am thankful for, I covered the basics. I am thankful for my family and friends. I am thankful for my health. I am thankful for a roof over my head. I am thankful for the means to enjoy a hot meal. But I am also thankful for shoelaces and apples.

My next Mommy's Always Write topic: Liar Liar, Part 2: The Disappearing Biffy