Our own example offers the most effective teaching tool when it comes to teaching gratitude to our kids. We can try to pound the lesson of thankfulness into our children's hearts and minds, but when we demonstrate a grateful heart with our words and actions they catch the lesson and keep it. So how do we demonstrate gratitude? Here are three ideas to get you started:
1. Tell your kids how thankful you are for them. That's right, be specific and tell each child several of the qualities you really appreciate about them. It's something our kids need to hear (as opposed to nagging all the time) and they need to experience how it feels to be on the receiving end of kind and grateful thoughts. Although we assume our kids know how thankful we are for them, they need to hear it specifically expressed now and then.
2. Speak in a grateful way about the rest of your family members (that means your husband as well as your extended family). Instead of complaining about aunt Nancy's conversation skills or her awful sweet potato casserole, talk about how thankful you are for her gifts or talents or character qualities. Let's demonstrate to our children how to look for the good in others, rather than what is wrong with people.
3. Take time to stop and thank the Lord for His blessings. When you recognize God has allowed something good to come into your life, take a moment to say, "Kid's I just want to stop and thank the Lord for His kindness." Then ask the kids to join you in prayer as you thank the Lord. Even when things aren't going so perfect, you can always thank God for His presence and His help in time of need. I'm reminded of the story of the ten lepers. Ten were healed, but only one came back to say thank you. I want to be like that one who said thanks.
This week, take some time to allow gratitude to fill your thoughts and hearts and allow it to overflow from your mouth. You are never so beautiful as when you are living a grateful life. Show others what a thankful heart looks like as you celebrate this week with family and friends.
I'm thankful for you! Keep shining His light.