A new Thanksgiving tradition for our scattered family members is to write down a
few things for which we are grateful and send them to each family’s household
to be read during the Thanksgiving holiday. Alexis’ items included being grateful for her health (yes, really). The letter below is from her aunt who lives in the mountains. (guest post by Chriseda Crow)
I just wanted to send a quick message to tell you that your story inspired a group of 9 and 10 year olds today.
I volunteer in Kenzie’s class (Alexis’ cousin) on Tuesdays. I lead them in an activity that has been pre-arranged for the whole school.
Today, I was asked to read a story about a little bird with a broken wing and then lead a conversation about gratitude and giving. The students are then supposed to write their gratitude quote on a block of paper that will eventually be put up on a bulletin board for everyone to see.
But after reading the cute little bird story, I realized that I had a much better real live story that would really inspire a lesson in gratitude. Your story. I thought about how I basically just did this gratitude quote activity with family and friends at Thanksgiving, and how your gratitude quote was the most inspiring of them all.
So I gathered the 21 students (and one volunteer dad) in a circle on the floor and shared your story. With their eyes wide and mouths closed, they listened contently. I focused on how after all you’ve been through this past year; you still give thanks for the health that you do still enjoy. I explained how we all gain joy through different means, but that we can only receive it because we are alive and breathing and our senses allow us to take the joy in. I challenged them to dig deep and give thanks for the gifts they’ve been given that allow them to experience joy.
I wasn’t sure how this would go over with this young group. Last month they had to introduce themselves and say what they were grateful for at Thanksgiving and most of them had some “thing” they were thankful for – video games, TV, a favorite toy, sleeping in, presents for their birthday – things like that. But they really amazed me today. After hearing your story, these same children wrote things on their paper like – “I am thankful for my hands so that I can write and draw”, “I am grateful for my legs so I can play soccer”, “I am thankful for my muscles so I can hike with my family”, “I am thankful for the love and care my family gives to me”, “I am thankful for my eyes so I can see nature” ….and on and on like that.
These kids who are seemingly focused on the latest fashions, the coolest new video games, or who’s the most popular – all sat down and really thought about their true gifts and how those gifts allow them to experience their own personal joy. The little bird story was cute, but it never could have brought out such sincere and meaningful gratitude like your story did.
Keep inspiring Alexis! You are changing lives!
I just love you so much. I am so proud of the woman you are. Thank you for being wonderful you!
With Love and Hugs,