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Leaves of Gratitude

Teaching Thankfulness Starts With Us

Papercraft kits with cutouts for gratitude trees abound in supermarkets, dollar stores and local shops. A simple trunk made of thick cardstock and colorful leaves cut from construction paper feature handwritten slogans even the youngest family members can fill in.

If you happen to find one of these kits in Kern County, start a new tradition or create your own with simple craft supplies. 

Fostering gratitude in children can be challenging, especially as we, the adults, battle the daily challenges parenting presents in any household. Cleaning a house, keeping up after constant laundry, and cooking every meal is a challenge day in and day out.

Before the Christmas rush begins with toy lists and visits to Santa, the Thanksgiving season is the perfect time to pause together, break bread, and reflect on what we are thankful for as a family. 

Children may throw out some unusual answers, but starting with a back-to-basics approach can guide the conversation. And if it doesn’t, that’s okay too; the answers only children could come up with can be honest and telling and let you know just how they’re doing and what they value. That, too, has to matter in the hustle and bustle of the season. 

Gratitude begins with us, the parents. If you’re struggling to “do it all” this holiday season, here are some leaves with renewed meaning to put on a thankful tree: 


Laundry: We have clothes to wash, plus clean water, a washing machine, and detergent to wash them. 

Our home: Although we have to clean it, the space families share matters. Memories are made in this space. 

Our school: Not every child in the world attends school. It’s not always easy to wake up in time for class each day, but we’re grateful to be part of a community that teaches us to read, write, and get along with one another. 

Food: Cooking isn’t always what we want to do, but we’re thankful to be nourished. 

Family:Family is everything. We are glad to have one another and that love conquers all.

The truth, the version of it we don’t always tell children and talk about over the kitchen table in hushed tones long after the sun has set, is not always easy, especially at this time of year. We are all dealing with something no one wants to talk about, topics politely sidestepped for this meal with its starched napkins, parsley, and good china. 

Thanksgiving is the perfect pause. Enjoy it with family and all that you’re thankful for, year in and year out. 

Happy Thanksgiving from Kern County Family!

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