The Gift of Appreciation

I don't know about you, but raising my little people with an aptitude for appreciation is huge. It's a constant battle when excess is everywhere and kids in 3rd grade have their own iPhones and iPads and mine…well, they don't. Now, I hold no judgement for those of you who may be in that group with littles and electronics, mine are not deprived, they just have to share with me & B. From a young age I've taught them that there are people in this world who are less fortunate, that we should appreciate what and who we have, that we don't just say "yes ma'am" and "no sir" because we are Southern but because it shows respect and appreciation. And yeeeeeess…..I've been known to talk about the starving children in Africa when everyone is complaining about dinner….or the child in India who has to walk a mile for clean water….Just keeping' it real.  Needless to say, it's a constant teaching process and we just use our every day for these lessons. Each day with children provides LOTS of opportunity - can I get an "Amen?" ;)

When the school year started coming to an end I knew we wanted to do something for each of the kids' teacher as a "Thank You" gift. This year was the first year I had all three children in school. Ryder was in 2nd grade and Lincoln & Ruby Jane went into Kindergarten which was the first time they would be away from me AND each other in separate classrooms. Yea, I was kind of a mess the first week, but that is as long as it lasted because everyone was having! The kids were excited to go every day to see their teachers and friends. Let me tell you, if you don't already, start praying for your child's teachers, pray for your children's behavior. I truly believe PRAYER is what made a world of difference this school year. With every Parent/Teacher conference I had a confirming answer to prayer -whether it was my child's behavior, friend interaction or classroom dynamics. It was AWESOME!

Recently, I was shown the new line of custom mugs at Tiny Prints and I knew this would be a perfect fit for what I wanted to do for all of the teachers. I know all of our teachers are coffee/tea drinkers so I was already on a hunt for personalized mugs and Tiny prints had just what I had been searching for! Ya'll know we love great finds around here so with all of the fun designs I just have to share! I was able to select a design that really fit each teacher's aesthetic & personalize each one. Once we received our mugs I took this as a teaching opportunity for the kids, I wanted them to think for themselves of reasons why they appreciate their teacher. What does the teacher do that you like? Is she funny? Is she patient? We wrote down all of the things that we appreciate about the teacher on individual pieces of colorful paper, then folded them up to fill the mug. We then added a little tag to each mug that said "Thank you for filling our cup this year." Our teachers fill our little ones with so much goodness - we wanted to give that back in some small way. Once we were finished we wanted the presentation of the gift to be thoughtful as well. So, I busted out the brown paper - the best wrapping option EVER - and we got to thinkin'….Ryder's teacher always sent notes home asking for pencils for the class so we laughed about attaching pencils as the bow - and we did! Ruby Jane's teacher always sent notes home on her drawings that were so sweet and encouraging, so RJ drew a picture of her and her teacher. Lincoln's teacher is a sassy teacher who loves sparkle so we used glitter crayons as her decoration. Add a little washi tape (hello, I'm addicted) and twine and there ya go!

The teachers LOVED everything from the mug to the wrapping paper and really enjoyed the notes of appreciation. Gifts do not have to be expensive to be thoughtful and loved. My most cherished gifts are the rocks and sticks my sons give me and the drawings my daughter creates. I hope as you're wrapping up your school year, no matter your means of showing your appreciation, you take the time to really love on your child's teacher. I'm sure we can all think of at least one teacher we all loved as a child, their job is not easy, but they give so much in caring for our little ones! It takes a village friends!

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