Sitting down again at the kids’ table (religion)

Published 4:14 pm Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Giving thanks: Mary Beth Easterling’s kindergarten class at Thorsby shared what they are thankful for…and the best approach for cooking a delicious turkey for Thanksgiving. (Photo by Chanel Bingham)

Giving thanks: Mary Beth Easterling’s kindergarten class at Thorsby shared what they are thankful for…and the best approach for cooking a delicious turkey for Thanksgiving. (Photo by Chanel Bingham)

By Chanel Bingham

Growing up in a large family, there was always a crowd for the holidays, and Thanksgiving was no different.

Every year, aunts, uncles, cousins, parents, grandparents and even the occasional neighbor would gather around my grandmother’s dining room table to share in a Thanksgiving meal. The food was wonderful, and there was always a lot of love and laughter.

However, there was just one problem: There was never enough seating.



In order to accommodate our large family, my grandmother would set up a “kids’ table” in the dining room. The kids’ table was always full, but I remember wanting so much to sit with the adults. With all of the laughter and smiles coming from their table, I felt as if I was missing out on all the fun.

Looking back, I realized that I never really appreciated those special moments of sitting together with my brother and sister and all of my cousins.

Now, having four children of my own, I often look for simple ways to explain and teach important truths and values to my kids. I recently came across a wonderful analogy that reminded me of the many years I spent at that small, round table surrounded by all the kids in my family.

I knew my children would especially like this analogy because it used doughnuts as a teaching tool. My kids love doughnuts! And although it’s simple and childlike, it has a powerful message for us all: “As you go through life, make this your goal: Look at the doughnut and not the hole.”

When we only look at what isn’t there, we miss out on all of the amazing and wonderful blessings we have right in front of us. Our joy is diminished, and we can develop an ungrateful heart. A lack of gratitude leads to an unquenchable spirit of discontent, blinding us to the goodness of God in our life.

I had no idea how quickly my time at the kids’ table would pass me by. I didn’t understand that there would come a day when I would sit at that table one last time. I never realized the beauty in those moments because my vision was clouded by my misplaced focus. And it was a focus that caused me to miss out on what was truly important.

We all have kids’ table moments in our life when we allow what we don’t have to distract us from the amazing things right in front of us. During this time of thanksgiving, I pray that we will remember our blessings and give thanks for all of the good things in our life. I pray that we won’t let precious moments slip away in our search for something better. I pray that we will not be blind to the memories being made today.

This year, I am especially grateful because I was given another chance to sit at the kids’ table. I recently had the pleasure of spending a morning at Thorsby High School talking with Mary Beth Easterling’s kindergarten class about the subject of Thanksgiving.

As I sat down at the small table, in a chair built for someone half my size, I looked across at those sweet, little faces, and I silently thanked God for giving me a second chance to enjoy the kids’ table.

Of course, I can’t complete the story without sharing with you the very insightful conversation I had with a room full of 5- and 6-year-olds. In our time together, I asked the kids three questions:

1. What are you thankful for?

2. What is your favorite Thanksgiving dessert?

3. How do you cook a turkey?

I hope you enjoy their responses as much as I did.

What are you thankful for?

“I am thankful for cookies and Ninja Turtles.” – Ryder Shoemaker

“I am thankful for turkey and deer.” – Kaden Collins

“I’m thankful for my mama. I’m thankful for my baby puppies. I’m thankful for church and for school. Also, we don’t eat turkey for Thanksgiving. We eat cake.” – Tanner Pendley

“I’m thankful for my parents.” – Paige Liveoak

“I’m thankful for family, Jesus and God.” – Jazlene Rodriguez

“I’m thankful for dinosaurs.” – Enrique Montano

“I’m thankful for food.” – Harley Farris

“I’m thankful for my family and friends.” – Loryn Littleton

What is your favorite Thanksgiving dessert?

“Cookies!” – Michael Ulritch

“My favorite dessert is chocolate chips.” – Hayden Farris

“My favorite is a whole bag of potato chips and cupcakes.” – Owen Shaneyfelt

“Pumpkin pie!” – Maci Hucks

“My favorite dessert is chocolate and vanilla cupcakes.” – Colin Smitherman

“Chicken.” – Kamari Chaney

How do you cook a turkey?

“I would shoot it and put it on the grill and add some roast beef flavor. You take out the bones and get a fork and knife and cut it. Then you get a fork and eat it.” – Graeme Shaneyfelt

“Put it in oven and cook it on 500 degrees for five minutes. Take it out of the oven and take the bones out of it. Then you eat it.” – Ellie Grace Carroll

“I would send out a trap and I would catch it with a giant wrapper and then bring it home and cook it in the oven for 14 hours. I would cook it at 1,000 degrees. Cool it off and then we would all get forks and knives and eat it. I like ice cream too.” – Logan Wilson

“You have to put a trap out and catch it. Cook it in the oven on 200, and cook it for one hour. And eat it!” –Brylee Harris

“You have to shoot it, and put it in the oven for seven minutes at 500 degrees. Take the bones out.” – Khloe Powell

“I would hunt for the turkey and put in the oven on 900 degrees. Cook it for five minutes.” – Brody Edge

From one kids’ table to another, Happy Thanksgiving!

“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Chanel Bingham is a freelance writer, blogger and public speaker. She resides in Thorsby with her husband and four children. You can visit Chanel at or on Facebook at “The Polished Canvas.” Her column publishes each week.