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Copyright 2002
The Teaching Home
Box 20219
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Information, Inspiration, and Encouragement from a Distinctively Christian Perspective of Home Education
Cindy Short and Sue Welch, Co-Editors


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Thanksgiving Day

The Origin of America's
Annual Thanksgiving Day

    "The grateful Pilgrims then declared a three-day feast, starting on December 13, 1621, to thank God and to celebrate with their Indian friends.  While this was not the first Thanksgiving in America (thanksgiving services were held in Virginia as early as 1607), it was America's first Thanksgiving Festival."  Read more at Christian Answers.

Thanksgiving in America
by David Barton
    "The tradition of Thanksgiving as a time to focus on God and His blessings dates back almost four centuries in America.  While such celebrations occurred at Cape Henry Virginia as early as 1607, it is from the Pilgrims that we derive the current tradition of Thanksgiving."  Read more at Wallbuilders.

Washington's and Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamations

 •  George Washington's 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation.  "Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor . . . " Read more.

 •  Abraham Lincoln's 1863 Proclamation of Thanksgiving.  This proclamation was celebrated shortly after Lincoln committed his life to Christ and celebrated while America was still in the midst of its Civil War.  It was this proclamation which eventually led to the establishment of our national Thanksgiving holiday.  Read it here.

The Mayflower, Pilgrims,
and Early Plymouth Colony

 •  Caleb Johnson's Mayflower Web Page.  A complete website dealing with the Mayflower, the Pilgrims, and early Plymouth Colony.

 •  Scholastic Mayflower Site.  Virtual tour of the Mayflower.

 •  Plimoth Plantation.  Includes a virtual tour.

 •  Artwork of Thanksgiving and Pilgrims.

Annie's Thanksgiving Home Page
    Christian.  Many pages of arts, crafts, games, activities, history and traditions of Thanksgiving, plus more related links here.


Newsletter Topics

 •  Christian Worldview
 •  Teaching Different Age Groups
 •  Learning Difficulties

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Sunnyside Up

Continuing Education
    As I was teaching my 1st grader phonics, I explained to him that I didn't learn phonics when I was going to school, and as a result, I'm a very poor speller.
    I told him, "I'm excited about teaching phonics, because I'm going to lean to spell better."
    Later that day my son was playing in the backyard, and he began a conversation with a girl across the fence. The girl called out to him, "What school do you go to?"
    He yelled back, "I home school."
    "Why?" she asked.
    "Because my mom can't spell," he shouted back.
    Submitted by Jill J., California


God Loves You.

    Because we have been separated from God by sin, Jesus Christ died in our place, then rose to life again. If we trust Him as our Savior and Lord, He will give us eternal life.

    "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast." (Eph. 2:8, 9)

See a beautiful, expanded Plan of Salvation online, available in 18 languages.


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In This Issue: Thankfulness
1.  The Character Quality of Thankfulness
2.  Teaching About Thankfulness
3.  "To Be Thankful, You Must Be Thoughtful"
4.  Establishing the Habit of Thankfulness


     Thanksgiving is a reminder to teach our children the important character quality of thankfulness.  In fact, we can make thanksgiving a way of life, not just a one-day event.

     Gratitude is related to the character quality of joy.
A life of thankfulness is a life of joy!

     "Oh give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name;
         For His lovingkindness is everlasting."
         1 Chronicles 16:7, 34

     May the Lord bless your family for His glory.

The Pat Welch Family, Publishers
Pat, Sue, Heather, Holly, and Brian

The Teaching Home is a home-school, family-run business operated in our home since 1980.

The Character Quality of Thankfulness

     Thankfulness is an attitude.  If your child adopts a grateful mindset and maintains it throughout his life it will contribute to your child's:
 •   Relationships with the Lord and others.
 •   Happiness; causing him to be content with what he has and not complain about what he doesn't have.

     Thankfulness, or gratitude, belongs to a group of the following related character qualities:

1.  Contentment
     Being satisfied with what God has provided, without complaining.
     Read I Tim. 6:5, 6, 8; Phil. 4:11; Heb. 13:5.

2.  Gratitude
     Appreciating and acknowledging favors or gifts.
     Read Eph. 5:19-20; Col. 2:6-7; I Tim. 4:4-5; I Thess. 5:18.

3.  Joyfulness
     Delighting in the Lord regardless of circumstances.
     Read Ps. 100:2; Rom. 12:11; Prov. 15:13; Ps. 35:9.

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Teaching About Thankfulness

     Thankfulness needs to be taught.  It does not come naturally to fallen human beings, yet it pleases and honors God.  "Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God."  Hebrews 13:15

1.  Teach What God Says about Thankfulness.

     During your regular daily Bible and devotional time read and discuss the character qualities and scriptures above.  Using a concordance, look up other references.

 •   God commands us to be thankful.
     "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, . . . and be thankful."  Colossians 3:15

2.  Memorize Scriptures.

     Memorize, review, and meditate on specific verses or passages related to thankfulness.

 •   Hold hands around the Thanksgiving table and quote Psalm 100 or your selected memory verses.

 •   Sing an appropriate hymn or chorus of praise and thanks.

 •   This tradition can be expanded for every day of the year.
     When growing up, our family held hands and sang "Thank You, Lord" before prayer at dinner every day.

3.  Talk about Thankfulness.

     Throughout the day there are a multitude of opportunities for your children to hear you say aloud, "Thank you, Lord, for . . ." or for you to talk about something for which you are thankful.

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"To Be Thankful, You Must Be Thoughtful"

     This is what our father taught his large family of 11 children.  It is easy to take for granted the many gifts that God has given to us unless we stop and think about them.

1.  Consider Others

     One way to think about your own blessings is to consider those who have less, as articulated in the proverb "I complained because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet."

     In America today we can find many people that havemore than we do.  This tends to make us and our children discontent.  (In fact, the secular media's featuring of the rich and famous, combined with commercial advertising that is intended to make you crave more, is a good reason to turn off your TV for good.)

     On the other hand, your family can find those around you that have less than you do in terms of physical, family, and spiritual blessings.  Looking farther from home to the poor of this world can show us the relative luxuries even the poorest of us possess (e.g., water!).

2.  Our Response

     Besides providing a reminder to be thankful, let these examples prompt a practical compassion in your family as you find ways to share your blessings.

 •   The best blessing you can share is the good news of God's love and forgiveness.  Don't leave home without gospel tracts or scripture portions to give to someone God places in your path.

 •   Especially at Thanksgiving and Christmas times, rescue missions need and appreciate gifts that enable them to provide meals and/or beds for the homeless.

 •   Look for someone in your church that doesn't have family nearby and invite them to share your Thanksgiving feast or other meals with you.

3.  Thanks for What We Do Have

     The example of looking at a glass of water as being either half empty or half full illustrates the two ways that we can view our lives.  Teach your children:

 •   Instead of dwelling on your problems, look at your blessings and thank the Lord for them.

 •   Instead of looking at how bad a situation is, look at how much worse it could have been and thank the Lord it wasn't.

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Establishing the Habit of Thankfulness

     Help your children establish and maintain the habit of thankfulness.

1.  Start with the Attitude

     If your children assume that they "deserve" certain things, they will not be thankful for them.

 •   Help your children understand our dependency upon God for everything we are and have.

 •   Teach your children what God says about being content with only food and covering.

 •   Explain that anything God or others do for us, or give us, is an occasion for our thankfulness.

2.  "Please" and "Thank You"

     Include thankfulness in the basic rules of courtesy that you set for your family.

 •   Teaching your young child to say "Please" and "Thank You" whenever he asks for, or is given, anything is a practical way to teach him to be thankful and to show it.

 •   Start by saying it for him at appropriate times, even before he can talk.

 •   A gentle reminder and later (or for older children) a pause while waiting for them to say "please" or "thank you," if consistent, will soon establish the habit.

 •   You might review this rule with your older children to good advantage as well.

 •   Make sure your children thank others outside your home when they are given something, are wished something (e.g., "Happy Birthday" or "Have a good day"), or have a service performed such as opening a door or being served a meal.

3.  Reinforcing the Habit

 •   Discuss good examples of thankfulness, such as how good it makes you feel to receive a prompt and handwritten Thank You card from a friend.

 •   Have your child keep a Thankful Diary in which he writes all the things he is thankful for and checks off those for which he has expressed thanks.


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