From the very beginning when are children start walking and talking we make effort by teaching them to say “Thank You” after we hand them something or when birthdays come around saying “Thank you” after they open their gifts. Cultivating a heart of thankfulness in your children is something that goes deeper than that. It begins in their heart as we cultivate the soil of being grateful.
How do we cultivate this in our children? Is it something that just happens? Let me say, it’s something that does take time and effort on our part to show them and steer them towards this
- We must first practice this in our lives. Each and every day we are being watched by our children. They hear what we say and watch what we do. Are they seeing in us a heart of thankfulness? Do we complain over little things? Do we express our thanks to them and to others on a regular basis?
- Start at a young age. With anything, the younger you start teaching this principle the better they grab hold of it. When they start toddling around and start communicating, encourage them to say the words “thank you” when they are given something or if some one helps them etc. Praying before each meal and snack. This ingrains in them that no matter what we eat, we should be thankful to God for it.
- Do a gratitude journal. As they grow and start learning how to write and put their thoughts on paper, have them keep a journal of things they are thankful for. Not just in November for thanksgiving time but throughout the year. They can be in the habit of writing things down as they are blessed through out the month.
- Don’t give them everything. This day and age we tend sometimes to want to give our children everything they want. Helping them learn to wait for things or pray for things helps them to appreciate what they do have. It helps them to learn to be thankful even for the little things. That is a hard thing when they are bombarded with commercials and even their friends who have every gadget and toy imaginable.
- Give them opportunity. From writing thank you notes to keeping a journal, there are many ways to give them opportunities to reflect and to show others their thankful heart. Each and every time they have been shown kindness, given a gift, someone doing a task for them, gives them the opportunity to demonstrate their thankfulness.
- Memorize Scripture together. Start with scripture like: 1 Thessalonians 5:18 ” In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
- Give Reminders. Remind them that everything they have whether food, things,toys, money etc. come from God.
Thankfulness is something that needs to be in our hearts all year long, not just in November. Each November I know there is much emphasis on “Being Thankful” but we as parents & grandparents must look for ways to cultivate this each and every day. We are a blessed nation and people. There are numerous blessings we can count whether trials or good times, Let us give God the Thanks that is due Him! We have much to be thankful for!
Psalm 107 “O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
Psalm 68:19 “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation.
“Thankfulness to God is a recognition that God in His goodness and faithfulness has provided for us and cared for us, both physically and spiritually. It is a recognition that we are totally dependent upon Him; that all that we are and have comes from God.” ~Jerry Bridges