Emily Wyckoff

“I’m thankful for my bearded lizard:” A kid’s view of Thanksgiving

I went to my daughters’ Thanksgiving performance at their school yesterday. It was long, adorable, stuffy (augmented by my 3 year-old son who was stationed on my lap for the entire nearly 1 and a half hours – passed out. If we were home, he wouldn’t have napped, but the lights go out and he’s history). This is now the fourth such event I have attended at their school and it was the usual variation on the same theme - third grade does a square dance routine, fourth graders pull out the recorders, pre-k and kindergartners sing along to a tape -  an accomplishment in itself in that fifty 4 and 5 year olds are on the stage for five minutes, standing in a somewhat orderly fashion with no tears. 

This year they did add something new. Every first grader stepped forward and said what they were thankful for:

 ”My family”

“My friends”

“My video game.”

“My cat.”

“My bearded lizard.”

I don’t know what a bearded lizard is but I laughed along with the rest of the audience. I started thinking about what I am thankful for and brought it up with my daughters over breakfast this morning. I started the conversation by asking the girls if they knew why we celebrated Thanksgiving. Now mind you, I have this conversation with them every year, yet clearly my storytelling is not making an impact. Faced with blank stares (what are they teaching them at this school anyway?) I told them the story of the pilgrims who first came to America and celebrated their harvest with Native Americans with a giant feast. And how they all sat together and gave thanks. Then the three of us talked about what we were thankful for. My 7 year old automatically said “You.” My 5 year old said “Food,” which she doesn’t eat that much of. And I thought about what I am thankful for: Three healthy children. A loving husband. My health. A sense of humor. Patience. A supportive family. Friends. A roof over my head and food on the table. The basics – notice that my girls and I hit on the same blessings – not the shoes I just bought or a webkinz.

So on Thanksgiving – one of my favorite holidays as it’s not about the gifts, but getting together and eating delicious food – make sure to ask your kids what they are thankful for – and in turn tell them too. I love it when everyone at the Thanksgiving table says what they are thankful for. Yes, I have turned into that grownup that I rolled my eyes at in high school. It must happen to everyone. Another idea I just heard of is to have everyone write what they are thankful for on a slip of paper, put it in a bowl, and then the messages are read aloud at dinner, and kept anonymous. This simple act reminds us of why we get together and how lucky we are to be with people we love, whether it be 2 others or 30. It’s not just the football and the turkey, it’s the people. And the bearded lizard. Happy Thanksgiving.


7 Responses to ““I’m thankful for my bearded lizard:” A kid’s view of Thanksgiving”

  1. Angela says:

    Wow that is trully beautifull I too have a family and this is something definetly that I will share with them.

  2. Wendy says:

    I loved this and was thinking maybe we should speak or write something we are grateful for at every family meal with our children. It will definately reinforce our love for each other and the world.

  3. Dee says:

    This year I decided to cut out different shaped leaves and have my 3 children write what they are thankful for. They also decorated the leaves. It was nice to see that the things I thought they didn’t appreciate or notice actually showed up on those leaves. (mom/dad running them to soccer,softball, practice/games/, homecooked meals,a roof over their heads and clothes on their backs) I have decided cutting out the leaves and having them do this each year at Thanksgiving time will be our new family tradition.

  4. Amy says:

    I had the same realization this year. Me & my Family are stationed in Australia for 2 years. They don’t celebrate Thanksgiving so we hosted. We all shared our blessings and they enjoyed our Thanksgiving experience. It was great to introduce this to a new country.

  5. dora gökçe says:

    ı’m from turkısh. my favoruti program is rachelray show..

  6. Edythe says:

    Hi Rachel-
    I’m not sure how to work this “blog” business so here’s my best shot. I may be partial but this is truly the funniest grandparent story I’ve ever heard! You appreciate humor so I thought you’d laugh too. I’ve had to work up the courage to send this because I’m not sure my daughter would like it. Last July my grandkids were 6, 4, and 18 months. I was babysitting and we were playing “food” with dried beans, fresh yams, and a bowl and math with the oldest one. I got a headache so I put my feet up on the couch and reclined a little. All of a sudden, from my right, something hit me-HARD-right between the eyes. I yanked off my glasses and before I could ask what it was something hit me again-HARDER-1/2 inch lower on the bridge of my nose. As I rolled around on the couch holding my face and trying not to cry in front of the kids, I heard the oldest tell the middle child, “let’s put the yams up so Nels can’t throw them anymore”. I couldn’t believe it! As I touched my nose, I felt a hole on one side and a bulge on the other-a definite broken nose! To make a long story short, I had surgery 10 days later and we had a lot of laughs over it. I told everyone no one could laugh on the day of surgery. They didn’t but I did hear the camera clicking alot! I told my daughter that I want a finder’s fee when my grandson signs his first major league ball contract!

  7. Billie says:

    Hey Rach
    I’m from Newfoundland Canada and watch your show everyday.I love that you are real and keep it real. My oldest daughter now 11 had to write what she was thankful for last year for a school assignment well she said she was thankful for her body she is very tiny for her age. Well she is now letting her hair grow to donate it to little girls who have lost their hair to cancer. This will be the second time doing this. I am very proud of her. She also loves your shows(all of them). Loves you Rach

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