Start a Family Blessings Jar
Many years ago when my children were young, I got the idea to start a Family Blessings Jar. I wanted to have an "attitude of gratitude" and teach my children to do the same. I thought by writing down things we were grateful for, we could share small every ay blessings with each other at a later date, and be reminded later of things we were once thankful for. Writing them down and revisiting things and events we thought were blessings is a good way to be grateful twice...once when we wrote down the event, and the second time when we read about it again. When my twins girls were about 12, we started this jar. At the end of the year, sometime around New Year's Day, we read the blessings aloud to each other.
Remembering the events we wrote down, especially what my girls my husband wrote, brought tears to my eyes that first year. It was a wonderful experience and I highly recommend it for all families. My husband and I continue to do this today.
Description of Blessings Jar
One of the best ways to teach our children to be grateful is to start a Family Blessings Jar. Family members can periodically place small pieces of paper with something they are thankful for...a "blessing" written on it. Then, every so often, maybe once per month or every other month, if you have a small family, everyone should gather round, and the blessings can be read. Small children love to have the opportunity to read the blessings out loud. And they sound much sweeter when read by sweet, small voices. Of course, the whole family can take turns reading. This event can be done around the dinner table after the meal is over, or by a fireplace in the family room. It's nice to do it where the family usually gathers so everyone has a seat. Bring a box of tissues, though; the comments can be sweet from the kids and bring a parent to tears.
What Container to Use
There are actually blessings jars out in the world for sale...usually at those gift shops that sell jars that say, "Rainy Day Fund" or "New Boat Fund," etc. I have seen one for Blessings and have purchased it for my family. You can purchase a pretty jar at a thrift store, or on eBay (see below for ideas) Or you can just make your own. It can be a jar that the kids help decorate or an unpainted wooden box that you can get at a craft store, and the kids can paint and decorate themselves. The important thing is that it be personalized, and each member of your family agrees to participate. It should be placed in an area where the family will see it often, such as the kitchen, dining room, family room, etc. A place where everyone will see if often so they will be reminded of their blessings and hopefully take the time to write one ( or more) down, and add it to the jar. It helps to leave a pad and pen near the jar to make it easier for people to just jot something down and then drop it in the jar. It also helps if someone mentions out loud that they have a blessing and it will get the other family members thinking and writing as well.
What Should We Write?
The description of the blessing can be long or short. It's totally up to the person writing it. Young children may not be able to write well so can have help from an adult. Here's an example of some of the blessings family members have written:
Mom: That my children are getting along better.
Daughter, age 8: That I got an awesome new hamster named, "Honey Roasted Peanut' and I love her.
Mom: When I was running errands today I saw two deer run across the street and I was so grateful that God shared them with me.
Daughter, age 9: That I have such an awesome mom! I love her so much, and she always makes me happy.
Mom: My husband and three children are my biggest blessings.
Mom: That we all had an awesome trip to the butterfly farm today and the butterflies loved Dad almost as much as I do!
Dad: It's a new year, and I am so thankful for God, my family, friends, and good health!
Daughter, age 8: That our lost dog came home.
Mom: That my daughter took me to see Mama Mia for my birthday today and it will always be a special memory.
Dad: That my birthday is over, but I will always remember the generosity of my wife, whom I love so much!
Not only is the writing of the blessing itself a wonderful reminder to be grateful, but then it has the same effect again when it is read aloud as a family. It's nice to keep all the blessings in a larger box, or maybe use a scrapbook album so that the family can look at them in years to come and it will bring back a lot of special memories.
Copyright by Karen Hellier, 2012
Give Blessings Jar as a Family Gift
A blessings jar is a great gift to give a family if you need a Christmas gift that you give to a whole family. Or if you need a gift for a mom to share with her family or grandmother to share with grandpa and the grandchildren. Reading the blessings that family members write, especially children, makes a heartwarming experience!
Another way to appreciate what you have:
- A Blessings Journal: A Way to Remind Yourself of All the Positives in Your Life
This article describes how to start an "attitude of gratitude" in your own life. Starting a blessings journal helps you stay positive and be grateful for the positives in your life.
© 2012 Karen Hellier