In a society that emphasizes a ME FIRST approach that conveys attitudes of selfishness and pride, humble gratitude is a rare commodity. It’s not pleasant to see in adults and down right yucky to see in kids.
In reality, everything each of us has, everything we are, and everything we ever hope to be is from the Lord. James 1:17 states, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” He provides and blesses, giving us all we need. Little ones often see it so clearly.
“That’s the prayer we say at our house before dinner,” she told me. Then she read it out loud, “God is great. God is good. Let us thank him for our food. Amen.” My sister-in-law proceeded to ask her where her food came from.
“Well, God made the soil and the seeds. The farmer plants the seeds and harvests the food, she began.
My sister-in-law added, “Then God provides the sun and rain.”
With a quick nod of her head, my niece continued, “Yes, then my dad makes money to buy the food. My mom buys the food at the store and cooks it for my family.” Pretty good for a first grader!
A thankful heart comes from intentionally training kids. Growing an attitude of gratitude in children is a foundational piece of parenting, recognizing both the large and small gifts in life and cultivating a thankful heart. Think of those little hearts as fertile soil waiting for seeds of faith!
Thanksgiving is a few short weeks away. The holiday is a wonderful time for families to gather, celebrating the gifts we have in our relationship with the Lord and one another as well as our many blessings. The holiday offers a special opportunity to be intentional about how we sow seeds, training our kids to be thankful. Try these seeds!
This year for the Thanksgiving blessing, ask the children to prepare grace for the meal or choose a prayer everyone knows. Every family does it differently. When we are with my husband’s family, my father-in-law generally says the blessing. My extended family most often says a rote prayer with my mom adding a special blessing at the end. (We started to pray this way after my dad past away.) Do what works best for you and your family! Be intentional in thanking all who contributed to the meal and especially the Lord.
Other ideas include doing a Blessing Check-In. Ask each guest to share one highlight of the past year. Or you can use the 1C13P Thanksgiving Place Cards for the table. At dinner, read the cards and share how the verse relates to blessings from God. Use Kirk Weaver’s ideas from his post last week to foster thankful hearts in kids!
Thanksgiving cannot be the only time we coach our children to be grateful. Making appreciation an everyday part of how we do life is how gratitude grows. Take the time to thank your kids. Expect them to thank you and others. Express thankfulness honestly and often to family, friends, and others you appreciate. And always thank the Lord, for every gift.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
1 Chronicles 16:34
The 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team is offering Anticipating Immanuel: An Advent Interactive Guide for the Family. Subscribe today to receive this free resource!
May God bless you and yours abundantly this Thanksgiving and throughout Advent.
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By Becky Danielson
Wife to Scott, Mom of 2
Co-founder of 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting