Thankfulness through eyes of creative child

Published 12:01 am Sunday, November 25, 2018

Our adult eyes can sometimes cloud the impact in simple, common, everyday things.

Sometimes it takes a child’s view of the world to bring the adults back down to earth.

I was reminded of that last week when someone asked me a simple question:

What are you most thankful for this year?

It’s a question that often gets posed around Thanksgiving.

Most of us have quick answers at the ready.

My family.

My health.

My children.

My parents.

If the question were asked in a church environment, most people would turn the answer to be religiously focused with answers such as God, Jesus, my salvation, etc.

When not in a church setting a few of us turn the answer to take a little less self-centered approach to our answers and change the words of our answers slightly:

Our family

Our health.

Our children

And even our community, our country, etc.

But the truth is, down deep, most of us are selfish. I speak from experience here.

Most of things we truly appreciate are about us, rather than having gratitude for our own ability to impact others.

And that’s human nature, I suppose.

But just when we think the world around us is completely selfish someone will surprise you.

This Thanksgiving our 5-year-old daughter, Anna, surprised our family and may have started a Thanksgiving tradition with a little Styrofoam, some yarn, construction paper, tape, a few toothpicks and a big heart.

We’re not sure where she got the idea, but Anna announced a week ago that she had a project she wished for our family to do on Thanksgiving Day.

The project was a homemade turkey. She described her vision of the project to her mother who then figured out a way to make a rather good looking, if bald, turkey. Two Styrofoam balls, a large one for the body and smaller one for the head were wrapped with a mixture of fall-colored yarn.

A little glue and two wiggly plastic eyes and Tom began to take a little more shape.

The real magic, Anna envisioned, was in the feathers. She carefully drew each out of yellow, organ red or brown construction paper.

They traveled to our family’s Thanksgiving gathering in an empty diaper box, with the head removed from the body for safe travels.

When it was reassembled and all the feathers, toothpicks and tape were set, the instructions were simple — write your name on one side and something for which you’re thankful.

As the feathers were gathered the person had to tell the crowd what they’d put on the back.

Answers ranged from “hot showers” to “God’s love” and all parts in between.

Afterward the feathers were taped to toothpicks and inserted into the body of the bird. We collectively decided we should carry on the tradition each Thanksgiving in the years to come.

This holiday season, I’m personally thankful for many things including:

* Our readers, without whom the newspaper would not exist.

* Our award-winning and hard-working staff.

* That we are blessed to live in a beautiful corner of the world.

* And that our community is filled with caring, smart people, including my little girl whose imagination made a roomful of a dozen people smile at the heart-felt reminders she prompted in us with just a simply idea and a little imagination.

As tucked her in Thanksgiving night I reminded Anna of just how thankful I was for her and how sweet her idea was for our family.

Most of us walk through our lives failing to appreciate the impact simple acts could have if we simple acted. From saying kind words and offering a smile to others to actually doing good deeds for others, the possibilities are limitless.

I hope you and your family had a blessed Thanksgiving, and I deeply thank you for your readership.

Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or kevin.cooper@natchezdemocrat.com.