Either children are getting more mature or families are happier.

A recent survey of local 5-, 7- and 8-year-olds revealed that all of them are grateful for their families. This, of course, is the correct thing to say when a grown-up asks you what you are thankful for.

Despite our cynicism on this subject—it’s inherent to the profession—we believe that these children are genuinely thankful. But we were determined to dig deeper, so we asked respondents what else they were thankful for and what their plans were for Thanksgiving.

In Stacy Glowacki’s kindergarten class at Washington Elementary School, children drew pictures and wrote about their blessings.

Alexis was thankful for Mrs. Glowacki. She drew a picture of her teacher wearing a lime-green dress with a matching yellow face that sported Mrs. Glowacki’s trademark smile.

Blaine, on the other hand, is thankful for everything, and his drawing reflected that. It contained more than 15 things, including the sun, his friend Colton and pudding.

Miah’s picture featured Washington Elementary, Miah outside of the school and her dog, Mojo. Unfortunately, Miah’s family had to give Mojo away because their new house can’t have pets.

Regardless, Miah is still excited about Thanksgiving. When she talked about eating turkey, she got so worked up that she drummed her feet on the floor.

Annabelle expressed thanks for her cat, Oreo, and her dog, who “doesn’t have to be on a leash.” She’ll spend Thanksgiving at her Uncle Gene’s house, where everyone will get two pieces of cake.

Jonylah was so thankful for her family that she drew a picture of them: Mom, Dad, herself and her sister. She said she likes to help out with the meal, but usually her mom and dad make it. She also likes pumpkin pie.

Liam is thankful for houses. He drew a picture of his house, Mycah’s house, Maya’s house and Jonylah’s house. When asked why he liked houses, Liam launched into a discussion with Jonylah about house colors, sizes and locations.

So we’re still not sure what the deal is with Liam and houses.

Liam doesn’t care for pie. However, he does like turkey, which is made by “putting vegetables in it.”


Owen Severson tries to make the final knot in his corn necklace during a second-grade craft project at Van Buren Elementary School in Janesville on Monday.

Jax drew airplane racecars. When asked why he was thankful for them, Jax veered a bit off topic and explained what was going on in his picture and why some cars had their tires off. He confessed that he does not yet have his driver’s license, but he does have cars at his mom’s house for himself and his sister.

Gavin likes to cook with his grandmother, and his drawing showed the different foods he likes.

When asked how he helps his grandmother make pie, he said, “We have a recipe book, and then we find the blueberry pie page, and then we make it, and then there’s ingredients.”

Niles also helps with the Thanksgiving meal. In particular, he helps put the turkey in the oven.

“Last year, it was my first time, like, touching meat,” Niles recalled, calling the raw turkey “gross.”


Teacher Tiffany Redieske helps students tie the final knots on their necklaces, which are supposed to look like ears of corn, during class Monday at Van Buren Elementary School in Janesville.

We also stopped at Van Buren Elementary School to talk to second-graders about their Thanksgiving blessings.

That morning, they had learned about the Wampanoag Indians, who showed the Puritans how to cultivate corn. They were currently in the midst of making Indian corn necklaces.

These children couldn’t be shaken. They were most thankful for their families, period.

Nolan planned to spend the holiday playing with his cousins.

Sophie informed us that she planned to help with the mashed potatoes and “set up the table.”

Evan expressed gratitude for his high-school-age older brother, who is “mostly nice, but sometimes we fight.”

As for their teacher, Tiffany Redieske, she was grateful for her two girls and time spent with family.

“I know it might sound corny, but I’m thankful for all my kids in my classroom,” Redieske said. “I do love and care for them. We become like a family.”


Haiden Reed-Wiseman works on his corn necklace during class at Van Buren Elementary School on Monday.