Blessings Box

by | May 18, 2012

Ten years ago, when my children were young, we began a ritual that the whole family still enjoys today.

It all started because I wanted to teach Joshua, then age five, and Joel, then age two, about thankfulness in a way that was more fun and tangible than simply lecturing, “Be thankful.”
The idea took shape one day when Joshua charged into the room, held up a dime, and said “Mommy, will you take down my piggy bank so I can put this in?”  Stretching that concept a bit, I wondered if the boys would go for a special bank that, instead of saving money, saved their blessings – those big and small events that bring happiness.

I rummaged around for just the right container… I then rounded up the boys and plopped a small gift box on the kitchen counter and asked, “Do you know what this is going to be?”  Puzzled, they shook their heads.  “Well,” I said, “when something really good or exciting happens in our family, such as when you lose a tooth or you’re kind to someone, we’ll write it down on a piece of paper.  You can slide in the papers, kind of like a piggy bank.  We’ll call it our Blessing Box.” 

“We’ll keep the Blessing Box on top of the refrigerator, and when we want to add something we’re thankful for, we’ll bring the box to the dinner table to take special time to write a note and put it in the box.  Then on Thanksgiving, we’ll open the box and read everything so we can remember and celebrate all of our blessings.”

Since the kids were young, we discussed their ideas and my husband and I wrote notes for them.  They suggested events such as “Joel no longer gets up and eats a banana in the middle of the night” and “Joshua was kind to Joel even when Joel hit him.”  It turned out that in addition to inspiring thankfulness, the box often provided an extra bit of recognition for a good deed or good behavior.  And then there was the fun of sliding the notes into the “bank,” which the children particularly enjoyed when they were little.

As their reading and writing abilities evolved over the years, the kids were able to write notes themselves.  As parents, Kevin and I found it enlightening to see what each child counted as important: losing a tooth, acquiring our dog, winning a basketball game, or Dad’s return from a business trip. The kids learned that even the tiniest events or accomplishments were fair game.
Some years, we added notes only every two or three months.  Now that the kids are older, we have a more regular schedule.  At the end of each month, on a night when we’re all home for dinner, our son sets the table with paper and pen by each plate.  Then, while we dish up food or butter the rolls, we share our thoughts and write them down.

Although everyone enjoys these monthly thankfulness feasts, we really look forward to our annual grand finale on Thanksgiving morning.  We open the Blessing Box, pass it around, and randomly pull out slips of paper to read.  It definitely starts off the day on a positive and thankful note.  After breakfast, I gather the pieces of paper into an envelope that I date and file.  With ten envelopes tucked away, I know the Blessing Box helps our kids practice thankfulness year-round.


Kerry Stutzman, MSW
©2012 Kerry Stutzman, Head & Heart Parents

+++++
Head & Heart Parents is owned by Kerry Stutzman, MSW, a Marriage and Family Therapist and certified Love and Logic Parenting Instructor. In addition to private therapy and parent consulting services, Kerry offers parenting classes and workshops in Denver and the surrounding areas for toddlers, elementary, and teenage children.

As author of the easy-to-read “Save Your Sanity” series, Kerry helps parents save their sanity and sense of humor while raising young children with love and laughter.

+++++

Visit Kerry’s extensive collection of articles on parenting…a treasure trove of tips and insights.

Calm Parenting

Before I had kids, I always pictured myself as a calm, loving, happy, and nurturing mother. I was sometimes. I still am sometimes. I didn’t realize how hard I would have to work sometimes just to avoid coming completely unglued and falling apart right there on the...

That was then…This is now

As I watch, walk, read and listen, I am horrified and heartbroken about the systemic pervasiveness of disrespect and destruction of Black people’s lives that is rooted in racism.

One Way to Start Mother’s Day 2020

I think the sweetest gift I could receive would be WORDS. Words that in spite of my imperfections, my humanity, my annoying idiosyncrasies, and my mistakes along the way … that they’ll take me the way I am. That I am enough.

Raising Boys Made Me Braver

I have had to call up the intrepid, courageous, and active parts of me that, up until motherhood, had laid somewhat dormant.

The Car Sanctuary

So often while driving, my kids would fall asleep and I found that to be a quiet peaceful time. So, I decided to make my car my sanctuary.

Instead of M&M’s, Kids Need More N&Ns – AKA: My Kid Hates When I Say “No”

One day when I took my young son to Burger King, he wanted something he couldn’t have and I said no. It didn’t work out well for either of us.  What he wanted was “white pop” (known to older kids as Sprite). I was OK with that. I held the cup to the Sprite label on...

Popsicle vs. Poopsicle: your ticket to better dinner conversation

It's possible that dinner conversation is not quite what you had dreamed of. I had fantasies of a happy family gathered around, politely eating a meal that they appreciated and each person happily chatting about their day, one at a time. If you have that,...

How Do We Parent in Ways We Weren’t Parented?

Make lasting changes in behavior that last a lifetime and span multiple generations. In some ways, it's easy to parent our children in ways we weren't parented, right?  I was a latch-key kid with a working mom who was gone a lot. When it came time for me to be a mom,...

What Is Head and Heart Parents About?

Hi! I’m Kerry Stutzman. At Head and Heart Parents, we care about all things related to parenting.  I, and the other therapists I work with, think about the entire system of a family, from the well-being of the kids to the sanity and sense of humor of the parents....

My Favorite New Year’s Resolution

I loved this resolution because it helped bring to life a piece of me that I longed for: the part that can pause long enough to truly see and hear my children’s words and respond with a smile