Dec 7, 2014

Thanksgiving and Gratitude (FHE)

With Thanksgiving being this week, I decided to deviate from my Gospel Principles lesson series and instead taught a lesson on gratitude.  Since the theme of the talks and lessons at church yesterday were also on gratitude, this family home evening was set up perfectly.  I used the Family Home Evening resource guide in lesson prep.  We were also lucky enough to have the sister missionaries join us for FHE, and they were happy to share comments and help with the activity.  June loves having the missionaries over.

Song: We sang song #10, Thank Thee for Everything, from the Primary Children's Songbook.  It goes as follows
Father please hear us sing.
Praises to thee we bring.
Thank thee for ev'rything
In thy good world.
Skies may be gray or fair;
Trees may be green or bare.
Beauty is ev'rywhere
In thy good world,
In thy good world.

Lesson:  Gratitude is being aware of and appreciating blessings and kindnesses given to us. We can express it through sincere words of thanks and through actions that show our appreciation. An increased spirit of gratitude will bring increased joy into our lives.

I shared the following story:  Laura received many nice gifts for her birthday, but when she opened the package from her grandmother, a deep, warm feeling came over her. The gift was a beautiful handmade doll. As Laura touched the carefully braided hair, the embroidered face, and the lacy dress she thought of the time it must have taken for grandma to make this doll. Grandma’s eyesight was failing, and sewing by hand was becoming difficult for her. Laura ran to grandma and hugged her tightly. “Oh, thank you, grandma,” she whispered. Grandma hugged her back. She knew Laura loved the doll and that her many hours of work were appreciated. Best of all, she knew that Laura loved her.
 
We talked about how Laura showing her gratitude to her Grandmother helped her feel loved, and also helped Laura to appreciate the gift.  Both Laura and Grandma benefited from this display of gratitude, so we should also be grateful and show our gratitude often.  We should make being grateful a daily habit.  During a meal, invite family members to tell of something they have received from Heavenly Father, other members of the family, or others for which they feel grateful.  We can keep the list of blessings made during the home evening. Have each person place this list in a drawer or on a mirror where it will be seen often and add to it from time to time.  Also occasionally, let the family spend a home evening expressing their gratitude for blessings and kindnesses they have received, as individuals and as a family.   

Activity:  June got to express her gratitude by assembling a Thankful Turkey and a Cornucopia of Gratitude.  I couldn't decide on which one to do, so I decided to have her just complete both.  They also make cute Thanksgiving decorations.  I printed out each item, cut out the pieces, and laminated them.  Then, I gave each sister missionary some turkey tail feathers, cornucopia fruits, and a wipeable marker.  I showed June first the tailless turkey and I said, "This turkey isn't very thankful.  He is selfish, prideful, and unhappy.  Let's help him be happy by filling him with a tail full of things you are thankful for!"  She started telling each sister about the things she was thankful for, which they wrote on each tail feather.  Then I showed her the empty cornucopia and I said, "Cornucopias are supposed to be filled with blessings to remind us of what we are blessed with!  Let's fill this one with things you are grateful for."  She continued to list off things she was grateful for and the sisters again wrote those on the fruits.  As June listed things off, I had her tell me why she was grateful for each item.  Soon, she had a full cornucopia and a turkey tail full of feathers.  I told her "Look how much happier the turkey is with his full tail!  He is thankful now, and he is happy now.  And look how full our cornucopia is!  The Lord loves you so much to bless you with so many things!"

She enjoyed looking at the decorations as I put them on the wall.  Her favorite part was sticking the feathers on the turkey and the fruit in the cornucopia.  For a twist with older children, after each item is completed you can play a game with your family. Have everyone close their eyes while you take away one picture. Let your family guess which blessing is missing. Talk about what it would be like without that blessing. Keep playing until none are left.

The Thankful Turkey
The Cornucopia of Gratitude

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