It’s an easy lesson – until your children get to the thinking part. Pack up some household items which aren’t entirely useful. Sit with kids and try to think up five reasons to be thankful for that item.
- Five objects from your house, possibly including a photograph of someone, an old kitchen utensil that is hard to identify like a masher, an empty water bottle, a small sewing kit, a branch or pinecone or rock from your garden. If you don’t have some of these, substitute something else that is not too utilitarian or “useful.” You’re going to ask for FIVE reasons to be thankful for each object. To keep the game challenging, objects shouldn’t be things students could immediately see lots of uses for.
- Garbage bag or kitchen liner to hold the objects
- Bag of candy, some of your students’ favorites
- Place the candy in the very bottom of the bag.
- Place all items on top in the bag before coming to class.
A missionary had moved to a remote African village, where everyone ate dinner together at night in the village square. Her first night with the tribe, the chief priest said a very long grace. She knew enough of the language to understand that he was thanking God for many things, from their peace and unity to their food.Unfortunately, while everyone was quiet, she had to sneeze. AHHHCHOOO!! Quickly, she reached in her pocket for her pack of tissues. The priest paused as many said, “Al-on-gruh-PEEG-ay!” That was their way of saying “God bless you!
The missionary blew her nose, thanking God for the tissues. It’s as if this prayer was contagious! After dinner, she looked around for a trash can near the village center and didn’t see one. She went to a man helping clean the dishes and said in their language, “Do you have a trash can?” Several of the men looked interested and gathered around her.
“What is it you want to throw out?” one asked. They looked so enthusiastic, as if she might have a gem that would be interesting to them.
She realized that hardly anyone in this remote village ever threw something out. The people brought stone plates from home to enjoy the meal. No paper plates! The children wore cloth diapers. No disposable diapers! She had seen women collecting big bunches of leaves off the forest floor in their aprons that morning. That was their toilet paper! These men were drying the dishes with cloths and soap stored in a barrel. No paper towels!
We here in American may never choose to live like these people. It may be strange to think of people thanking God so thoroughly who have no paper plates, disposable diapers, or even toilet paper!Americans throw away a LOT. The wrappings on our food. Our tissues, diapers, napkins. We throw away all the fabric of old or stained clothing. Things we don’t need anymore. If anyone should be thankful for all they have, it is those who dispose of so much of it.
One of the things we should do on Thanksgiving is learn how to thank God, not just for our food and homes and clothing, but for some of the smaller things in life—things that are about to make it into the discard pile.
Let’s play a game and see how thankful we can be.
- Blindfold a student. Identifying things while blindfolded is a classic kid favorite that will add interest.
- Put one of the items from the garbage bag in front of him.
- Have him try to identify what it is.
- When he does, he can pull the blindfold off.
- Then have all students think of reasons to be thankful for that object until you have FIVE reasons.
Encourage creative thinking:
- The photo represents precious memories that can’t be forgotten now.
- The empty bottle reminds us that we don’t have dirty water issues in most of America.
- The masher can be used to give us mashed potatoes, but it also symbolizes all the potatoes available to us in America.
How do you feel, thanking God for things we hardly notice? Take answers. This Thanksgiving, let’s not just thank God for the obvious things like turkey and gra-vy. Let’s remember to pause and thank him for lots of small things—even things we might be about to throw out. Let’s look in the corner of our closet and think of ways to thank God for what we found there.
Let’s thank him for tissues so we can blow our noses comfortably.
Let’s thank him for a broken pencil we find, grateful for all the learning we were able to write with it.
Thank God for that now-broken toy, and the joy it gave you when you first opened it.1 Thessalonians 5:18, says, “In everything give thanks. For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
”Our ancestors founded the Thanksgiving holiday to show God gratitude, and we’ve been showing it ever since. Our gratitude is one reason God has continued to bless us.