Sunday, November 19, 2006

Thinking Thanksgiving Thoughts


We're starting to get ready for Turkey Day around here, busily stuffing the fridge and doing strategic cooking planning. It will just be 4 adults and 2 kids, but we'll still cook the whole shebang. We decided on a mostly native foods menu this year, with turkey, bread stuffing, cornbread, wild rice, green beans, peas & pearl onions, cranberry sauce, apple pie and pumpkin pie. Lots to give thanks for.

I got a little book for the kids about Thanksgiving, but what a hard decision. There were many to choose from at the local chain bookstore, but most of them are either too cartoony, or don't seem to be telling a story even remotely close to the real history. The one I chose seems to be trying to tell most of the bits that would be comprehensible to young children, without the religious persecution, Manifest Destiny, King Philip's War, native peoples ravaged by smallpox, etc.

I did find a cool website about The First Thanksgiving, as part of my research into my latest burning question: Puritans vs. Pilgrims. I thought that they wouldn't be called Pilgrims until they left Europe, and that they were called Puritans in England.

Turns out in England the initial Protestant splinter group was called Puritans, which then split further into an even more radical reformist group called Separatists who sailed on the Mayflower, then in early Plymouth they were First Comers, then Forefathers and then Pilgrims.

I also learned that the first settlers were heavily indentured for many years by merchant investors, and that they had already moved to the Netherlands more than 10 years before sailing from Southampton, England. There is no evidence that the Pilgrims landed on any rock in what was later named Plymouth.

Anyway, now I need to find a little ritual with the kids to help them remember what they are thankful for. Any suggestions?

3 comments:

(un)relaxeddad said...

Hey! Thanks for dropping by the other day.

Thanksgiving is something that kind of baffles me in terms of it's timing - from the outside, it looks like having to work through Christmas twice with double the tribulations and half the presents. Though I could be accused of a, shall we say, Dickensian view of Christmas...

MaGreen said...

I teach creative writing to kids and it's always hard to help them figure out that we can be thankful for feelings, places, people, weather, moments as much as we can for things.

But that's what I try to do, and usually I just go through one thing at a time. What's a person you're thankful for? then i follow it up for details, What would it be like without that person? Or can you think of a picture of this person in your mind? What about that picture do you like?

You can do this sort of activity around an art project. You can have the kids draw self portraits and draw lines from the portrait's heart with their lines about thankfulness. Or you can have them section thier bodies off: like in the arm they write grandma or snow; in the foot they might write soccer or it might be unrelated, like rain. They still draw lines out from these parts. You can all this a thankful scarecrow or something.

Miah

Henitsirk said...

(un)relaxeddad: Thanksgiving does come close to the winter holidays, but for me it's like the first big thing of the winter, kind of like "now the celebrations will begin!" A late harvest festival perhaps.

grizzlybird: Thanks for the tips. I love to do art with my kids and they love it too, so that's probably the way we will go, along with conversation at the meal.