I’d love to say this was a well-thought-out contribution to our household traditions, but honestly, it was just a whim.
“What kind of game?” Since he’s four, he’s also a bit suspicious.
So I explained — or, rather, improvised — the rules. He and Julie would take turns; I played for Julie. Thomas should pick one thing in the play room he’s thankful for, and say why. He then puts it on the table, and picks out another item that he thinks someone else would be thankful for. That one goes in the box to take to charity. Then it’s Julie’s turn, and we go on till the box is full. The last person to fit a toy in wins.
We did have a couple of false plays — “That’s Julie’s toy, not yours!” “It is? I thought it was mine!” But in the end, I had a very thankful four-year-old, and a full box of things to give away. Better yet, not everything in the box was “discards” or outgrown toys. Some of the things were toys that would just get more play at someone else’s house than at ours, and a few were toys that resembled those Thomas was thankful for, in the hope that someone else could enjoy what he did. In other words, he was able to go from real gratitude to real generosity.
The real fruit of the exercise came when we carried the box upstairs. “Now it’s your turn! I’ll help you decide.”
Matt and I chose a much bigger box, because we have bigger stuff. “I’m thankful for my teapot, which I use everyday. And I’m thankful for this camera, which has taken a lot of pictures of our family, and I hope someone else can be thankful for it too.”
If we did this every week, I think we would be better for it. I definitely think it will become part of our Thanksgiving traditions.