Discover more from A Few Crooked Words
Thank you for pets, walks and chicken
Thank you chains, and other motivation to write for children (and even dogs)
My great uncle didn’t talk until he was three, at which point family lore reports that he said, “I yike applesaush,” the punchline being it was the first nice thing he could think of to say, because you know, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.
And I'm here thinking about thankfulness, it being the thanking season, and about thankfulness's sallow sister niceness, and about what motivates us to communicate. Because a little motivation helps a lot, when it comes to getting words out. Maybe it's that you're writing something useful, or something funny, or all the cool kids are doing it. Maybe, like my friend Dan in college, you've picked an enemy and have to do something better than them. (Not sure I recommend that approach, though it seemed to work for Dan.) Maybe it's a turkey-induced haze of goodwill that makes you want to wax poetical. Maybe it's loneliness. Maybe it's spite. Maybe it’s applesauce.
My daughter is just starting to write, and so far many different things have spurred it on: commerce (a sign for her store under our back steps), frustration (a keep out sign aimed at a classmate she was angry at), sadness (a note to tell me she was sad), and love (a birthday card for her dad). In each case, she had something genuine she wanted to communicate, and writing was a tool to do so.
A couple of mornings ago, while I was still trying to, as my daughter says, "perk up," she was already busy cutting construction paper into strips at the kitchen table. The strips were to be the links in a thankful chain, an idea she got from preschool. We've been writing what we're thankful for on them, then she's been adding drawings and looping them into a chain. There are a whole bunch more waiting for the rest of our family tomorrow. I've done some of the scribing for my daughter (and all of it for our dog), but she also wrote one of her own, and you know what she wrote that she was thankful for? Mama. Which made my heart feel pretty grateful too.
So, if you're looking to keep people of any age occupied and out of the kitchen this Thanksgiving, consider making a family thankful chain. Because there is so much to be thankful for. Just ask my dog Squinchy, who can't be the only one thankful for chicken. (Though he may be the only one grateful for sunny places where he can tan his armpits. But hey, to each their own.)