Thankful hearts through a child’s eyes… Local family uses home project to show thanks

Published 12:54 am Friday, April 3, 2020

While the COVID-19 pandemic has brought much uncertainty and levels of fear to many around us, there have be many instances of people taking time to go above and beyond in an effort to show their gratitude and thanks for all those who are on the front lines to provide safety and protection to local communities.
A perfect example was a recent project completed by the children of James and Chelsea Kiser, who took time to show their thanks toward many things they felt were important to them.
The project took shape thanks to a social media post on Facebook.
“I came across a post that a group I follow on Facebook shared encouraging their followers to decorate their door with hearts to honor frontline and essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Chelsea Kiser. “I showed my oldest son, and we decided that would be our art project during school time the next day.
“I decided that if I asked them what police officers, nurses, doctors, etc. do then they would understand more why we should be grateful for them. And out of the mouth of babes, I got honest answers. So that’s where our thank you notes came from.”
After discussing the project, the next step for the family was to sit down and start formulating a group of people to be thankful for and the project just evolved from there.
“The conversation was loud but engaged,” said Kiser about the initial start. “I didn’t have to lead them to their answers. When I asked them who can they go to when they need help whether it was because they were hurt, hungry, or didn’t know how to do something, they started naming off specific people.
“So I asked the kids to tell me what each of those people they named off did for a job. They started yelling out Jesus, a nurse like mommy, electric people like daddy and uncle Josh (they’re electricians), doctors like Ms. Jesse, etc.
“I just started writing down their responses,” Kiser continued. “They even made sure that we acknowledge the Avengers. So ultimately they decided we needed to thank Jesus, doctors, nurses, electric people (electricians), grocery store workers, police officers, firemen, ambulance drivers (EMS/EMTs), camouflage Army men (the military), Taco Bell and McDonald’s (restaurant workers), and of course the Avengers.”
From that point, the children with the help of their mother began to list those names on hearts that would be attached to the family’s front door entrance. After that, a thank you note was compiled.
Said Kiser, “We wrote out a thank you note that reads: “Thank you to all of you who have to be outside. We pray for you every night at bedtime. Thank you for having chicken nuggets, cucumbers, pop-tarts, and chocolate milk at the store.
“Thank you for letting us watch church on our t.v. so we can wear our pajamas and sing about Jesus. Thank you for giving sister medicine so she doesn’t get sick. Thank you for using your blue lights to keep us safe so we don’t burn our room up and have to go to the hospital,” the note continues.
“Thank you for keeping us from fighting monsters and for making Captain America. Thank you for mommy wearing her sceloscope (stethoscope) to listen to people’s hearts. Thank you for driving your van to fix people’s houses. Thank you for loving me with power in the blood so I am safe with momma. Love Jacobi, Ethan, and Ava.”
“There are a lot more people that we could have and should have thanked, but I was pretty impressed that three children that young understood that those were significant people to acknowledge,” Kiser added.
One thing that was most impressive was the three children are between the ages of 3-5. In an age when children often feel entitled, Kiser went on to say that she felt that it is important as parents that children be taught how to be appreciative and thankful for the things they have instead of often the things they don’t.
“My children will be 3, 4, and 5 years old in a couple of months,” Kiser said. “They are at the prime age to start learning that not everything they want will be given to them when they ask for it. I don’t want my children to grow up feeling entitled.
“We want them to realize that they are blessed to live in a warm home with a comfortable bed to lay down in and that not everyone is fortunate enough to have that or food in their bellies and clothes on their backs.
“We also want to teach them to recognize when they are given something, whether it’s tangible like a toy or intangible like a person’s time or love, they need to be grateful and show their appreciation,” Kiser continued. “Our kids are really big on hugs and fist bumps when it comes to thank you’s. Grateful kids are happy kids.”
With families now being separated due to social distancing, many are beginning to realize how important that taking time for family and friends really is.
And while something like COVID-19 isn’t a pleasant thing to endure, the positive side may be to open people’s eyes of not taking one another for granted.
“We shouldn’t need a pandemic to occur to make us count our blessings, but that’s just what it does,” stated Kiser. “Sometimes I think we take our blessings for granted. Especially our time. We aren’t guaranteed time.
“Only God knows how much time we will have on earth with our loved one and that time could be ended before our next breath is taken. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has robbed us of physically being able to spend time with all of our loved ones; however, it makes you want to call your mammaw or text your best friend more frequently.
“Facetime has been a big help with our kids getting to see their grandparents during our ‘safer at home’ time,” Kiser added. “With COVID-19, we have so much uncertainty about how to treat it and prepare for it, and how it would affect you if you contract it. Some people recover from it and go on to live life as normal, and others succumb to it.
“That’s the scary thing. When you stop and think about it, that is what makes you take a step back and put into perspective the many blessings you have in your life. I am thankful for the extra time with my kids at home. I am thankful that I can still give my time as a nurse to my community.
“I am thankful that I have unfaltering faith in the Lord that my family will get through this. I am extremely thankful that I can find a positive lesson of gratitude and hopefulness to share with my kids amid this whole situation.”
With their hearts and cards project now complete, the family is busy trying to come up with their next project.
“We actually had the conversation at supper about what else can we do to help someone or do something nice for someone,” said Kiser. “A lot of their ideas were things that we will have to do later on like go give everyone a hug and high five.
“They talked about calling people to read them a book, mailing homemade cards, doing a video of them singing a song or telling a story for momma to post on social media, dropping off goodies for emergency personnel, and so many more ideas that it would take forever to list.
“Ava is all about baking cakes right now,” Kiser continued. “She and I baked almost three dozen cupcakes last weekend and did drive-by deliveries so that we could spread a little sweetness but still maintain our recommended distance from others.
“So we are definitely going to work on some more projects, and I’ll be sure to share it on social media so others can get some ideas. And if anyone has any ideas, feel free to contact me on Facebook. We love a good project.”
Kiser also mentioned that as a nurse, just a simple “Thank You” means more than anyone could imagine. She said one of her husband’s customers had emailed her just to thank her for being a nurse and said that those two words definitely carry a lot of encouragement.
She also felt it was important that parents lead by example for their children because if children see the parents being grateful, encouraging, and hopeful during times like this, that the children, in turn, will want to act that way as well.
The Kiser family wanted to share a special thanks.
“From my whole family and our Kiser Electric and Home Repair family — Thank you to everyone that leaves your family to help my family. Whether you are working at the hospital, patrolling the streets, or stocking our food on the shelf, you are appreciated more so now than ever,” Kiser said.
“We are praying for our community. Psalms 46 begins that God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear… We are praying for peace, safety, and strength not just for our frontlines but for our whole community. God bless you all!”

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