Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thankfulness: Observe, Appreciate, Express, Imitate

Dear friends,

I'd like to share a little outline I created yesterday for my English students as our literature and writing assignments this week center around Thanksgiving!  I want them to be able to communicate with others in a way that lifts everyone up.  I have added to it today.

I am thankful for my seven spunky students!

The Process of Thankfulness

Observe: We must be able to notice things in order to be grateful for them.  This is such a great language arts skill anyway since all good writers need to be able to observe what is around them and how it affects them.  Why can we be thankful?
  • provision of basic needs: food, housing, clothing 
  • special gifts: money, original arts or crafts, other tangible items, etc. 
  • service: what people have done for us, big or small
  • opportunities: what people have enabled us to do
  • relationships: support, encouragement, forgiveness, mercy, prayers
  • hospitality: meals, lodging, companionship
  • information: teaching, speeches, blogs, connecting with resources 
Appreciate: Next, we must be able to contemplate what is behind the blessing we have received.  What did it take for the person to give it?
  • heart, kindness, generous attitude
  • effort (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual)
  • time
  • financial sacrifice
Express: We need to communicate our gratitude to the one who has blessed us.  There are so many ways to do this:
  • spoken: face to face private conversation, phone, Skype, in a public speech or group conversation
  • written: letter, note, e-mail, blog post, blog comment, Facebook status, public tribute essay 
  • gift: a token of appreciation, like a hostess gift, thank you gift, gift card
Imitate: This completes the circle of gratitude.  "Imitation is the highest form of flattery."  "Freely you have received, so freely give." 
  • Pass the same gift along when you are done with it (if it will not offend the giver) or give a similar gift to someone who needs it.
  • Join your benefactor in their continued service to others.
  • Use your own personal talents to uniquely bless someone in the same spirit as your benefactor.
  • Let your benefactor know that his or her example has inspired you to bless others.
Of course, I write this to remind myself more than anyone!  Sending thank you letters has always been a challenge for me, even if I am feeling very thankful.  Sometimes I just need to pick up the pen or pick up the phone.

One of their writing assignments this week is to make a list of 20 things for which they are thankful.  I told them that each item must be detailed.  I want to know specifically what it is and why.  So, instead of saying, "My family," I'd rather have them tell me that they are thankful for their sister helping them with their homework and taking them to Starbucks.

Speaking of Starbucks, I bought a $5 gift card the other night as a thank you for an adult daughter who took an hour out of her evening to bring my extra set of van keys to me when I got locked out across town...  I loved her smile when I gave it to her!

I think I'll write my own list of 20 Thankfuls. Maybe I'll share it here later.  

Until then, I leave you with an old hymn that my students will read this week:

by Folliott Pierpont (England)

For the beauty of the earth,

For the glory of the skies,

For the love which from our birth,

Over and around us lies:

Lord of of all, to Thee we raise,

This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the beauty of each hour,

Of the day and of the night,

Hill and vale, and tree and flower,

Sun and moon, and stars of light. 

Lord of of all, to Thee we raise,

This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the joy of ear and eye,

For the heart and mind’s delight,

For the mystic harmony

Linking sense to sound and sight. 

Lord of of all, to Thee we raise,

This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the joy of human love,

Brother, sister, parent, child,

Friends on earth and friends above,

For all gentle thoughts and mild.

Lord of of all, to Thee we raise,

This our hymn of grateful praise.

For each perfect gift of Thine,

To our race so freely given,

Graces human and divine,

Flowers of earth and buds of Heaven.

Lord of of all, to Thee we raise,

This our hymn of grateful praise.

How about you?  What's on your list?

Thankful for you,

Virginia Knowles


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  1. This was a great post. Planning on incorporating some of this in our homeschool this week. Thank you also for the hymn. I had forgotten about it and just reading it put the song in my head. Lovely! God bless you and Happy Thanksgiving.

  2. Thank you for the great post! It truly does make a difference being thankful, but also love that you dig a little more! Thanks for linking up at Simply Helping Him! Blessings!

  3. Thankfulness is so important everyday and especially at Thanksgiving. Thanks for the outline, and the song which has been one of my favorites since I was a little girl.

    Thanks for linking up over at WholeHearted Home this week.


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