Understanding Thanks & Giving
A few years ago I taught a lesson to kids at church about Thanksgiving. It was a two week series that broke the word Thanksgiving down into–THANKS and GIVING. The world jumps on Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims and pumpkin pie. And they spout, “Give thanks!” but to whom? and why? and how?
As Christians, we are to give thanks to God for everything because every gift comes from him anyway! Then what do we do with that thanks? It should turn us around to give. Thanks AND Giving. I think this verse sums it up perfectly:
Give thanks to the Lord. Worship him. Tell the nations what he has done. 1 Chronicles 16:8
When we give thanks to God and worship Him, we will want to turn around and tell others. One of the best ways to tell others about God and His goodness is by GIVING. Anyone can give and serve others. And if we do it as a response to God’s goodness, it will be a witness to everyone!
A Helping Hand Craft
I want to help my kids understand this–live this! So, for the month of November, we have made a Helping Hand Thankful Tree. Yeah, I’m not so hot with titles.
I cut a giant tree out of brown paper (a giant roll of this craft paper was my best investment ever!) and then let the kids trace their hands on some colored construction paper.
We now have a big pile of colored leaves…er, hands. On each hand-leaf, I wrote an activity for them to do. But not just any activity. I tried to think of activities that encourage them to help others. The first day was “Buy food for others”. Our church is doing a food drive. So, instead of just clearing out our pantry of canned goods, we went to the store and I let the kids load up our cart with food. We came home and packed them into boxes. Then, we got to place that hand-leaf on our tree!
Some of our other helping hand activities:
- Surprise your sibling with a hug today
- Pray for 2 people
- Play a game your sibling loves to play
- Make a card for our sponsored kids
- Surprise someone by doing one of their chores
- Visit a ministry that feeds people
- Say “OK” when you want to say “NO”
- Bring water to someone
- Find something dirty and clean it
I left some of them blank for days I see my kids doing something helpful–then I can write it down and put it on the tree as encouragement.
It’s Up To You
Here’s the great part about this whole experience–this is going to cost ME something. Why is that a good thing? Well, it’s easy to TELL your kids what to do. It’s easy to even read the Bible and explain it to them. But modeling a servant’s heart? Living a helpful lifestyle? This is what will influence our boys more than anything.
When my kids see me reorganize my day to take them to a homeless ministry to feed families or skip facebook to make a pie for our neighbor–they will want to do the same. A thankful, helpful heart is something that is learned after seeing it in action!
Now do it!
So, you wanna encourage your kids to start GIVING this Thanksgiving season? We’re challenging you, dear MOBs, to make your own Helping Hand Thankful Tree! It can be in your own style, your own flair with your own activities, but the idea is to get you and your boys past simply SAYING thanks for something and start GIVING to others!
In fact, we’re putting up a linky today that will stay open all the way until Thanksgiving. So go ahead, WRITE about your family’s “Helping Hand Thankful Tree” (really, feel free to come up with a better name!) on your blog and then LINK back to this post and PASTE the url below.
And as a little encouragement, my good friend and singer/songwriter (and future MOB, she’s pregnant with her first!), Yancy has offered her new CD, Stars, Guitars & Megaphone Dreams to one of you that link up!
Yancy writes Word-filled songs that will get your boys up and dancing! We’re talking guitars and drums–and most of all, lyrics that will plant God’s Word deep in their hearts. Yancy’s heart for kids is undeniable and her joy is contagious! I just got this album in the mail yesterday and have already been singing along to “You Are God To Me”—a song about being thankful! Please click around her site or visit her on facebook. If you visit her site now, you can download a free song from her new album!
Now, start linking up!
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