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Anneke and Hans Learn About Thankfulness

by Susan Kramer

The setting is a little village nestled against the dunes by the North Sea in Holland. As the story begins

Anneke and Hans and their parents are off to the school playground this Saturday morning to help set up for the community rummage sale. The annual event gives families a chance to donate what is still usable from their wardrobes, the kids' toy chest, or anywhere at home, and the income raised buys playground equipment.

Pa is going to check in the shed to see if he really needs some tools he has had stored there for a while, and Ma is checking all her kitchen cupboards to find some baking pans she can do without.

The kids hear their parents commenting to each other that they are thankful they have more than they really need and can give to others who will find the items useful. From the smiling expressions on their parents' faces Anneke can see they are really glad to be able to make donations.

Seeing their parents finding items to share the twins climb the stairs to their bedrooms, Anneke on the 2nd floor facing the front garden and street, and Hans in the converted attic room overlooking the back garden golden chain tree.

First they each check their wardrobes for clothes that are too small. Anneke finds a jumper and blouse that were from 2 years ago that she has definitely outgrown, and lays them on her bed. Then lined up on the floor of the cupboard are several pairs of shoes that she has just outgrown. So she wraps them in a piece of newspaper and lays them alongside the jumper and blouse. Anneke is feeling thankful that another child will have them now.

Hans is up one floor doing the same as his sister, and has found 2 pairs of pants that are way too small, and carries them down to Anneke's room. The twins scoop up the items and skip down the stairs in tandem, showing their mom what they have to donate.

Ma and Pa wrap everything in plastic bags recycled from shopping trips, and the family climbs on their bikes and heads over to the tables set up for the sale. Many other families are already there setting out their donations to be rummaged through. The prices on everything are kept low so buyers will be able to afford what they truly need.

Anneke and Hans feel thankful, energetic, and positive having items to share with neighborhood boys and girls, and they enthusiastically go off chasing papers on the playground that are escaping up in mini wind funnels.

Ma and Pa notice Anneke and Hans skipping around on the pavers and comment that they are proud of their enthusiasm generated by giving to others. It gives the parents pause to reflect that sharing and being thankful are positive experiences. They are glad the kids are having this opportunity to learn that it feels good to give; to be able to share.

Slowly the morning winds down; the rummage sale's been a success. The family pedals home and gathers around the table for lunch of ham and cheese, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers on buttered buns.

Before eating, they take time to join hands for a few moments of silent meditation, and together say this prayer of thankfulness and appreciation for what they have, and how good it feels to share:

Thanksgiving Prayer


Our family together, joined hand in hand
Gives thanks for all we have to share
And may we remember this blessing each day
And how important it is to care.


More stories with Anneke and Hans


Anneke and Hans Learn About Thankfulness copyright 2018-2020 Susan Helene Kramer; photo credit Stan Schaap, Dunes Park, North Holland


Author Bio:


A meditation and yoga practitioner since 1976, and mother of five, Susan writes on practical spirituality, family and social issues, and dance for children and adults. Her instructional books are listed at her web site



Page created November 20, 2020