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Teach Thankfulness
Photo: Thien Vui Fah
How many times have we given a gift to someone without receiving a thank you? Or maybe we've done a special favor only to wonder if we should have minded our own business. Let’s face it, it feels good to hear people say “thank you” and to show that they appreciate our kindness. No doubt about it. But what about the great feeling we get when we are the ones doing the thanking?

The Bible says that the Lord loves a cheerful giver1, and this is true. But I’m certain the Lord must also love a cheerful receiver. Think about it. Doesn’t it feel just as good to be the one saying, “Thank you so much for thinking of me!” as it does to be the one who did the good deed?

There is a wonderful blessing in being thankful. Here are a few suggestions for building thankfulness into the lifestyle of our kids (and ourselves).


1. Be aware. The more we are conscious of things to be thankful for, the more that spirit of thanksgiving will develop. We can bring our toddler’s attention to everything from the warm sun in the sky to the earthworm in the ground. We are surrounded with God's creations for which to be thankful!

2. Be positive. It is so easy to be aware of the negative things in life, and they are a reality. But try to balance those out with bringing attention to the positive things in life as well. For example, if my child is sick with the flu, I can assure him that God is the great Physician that can heal him. And when he is well again, we can thank God for it.

3. Form habits of showing thankfulness to others. For example, I can train my child from the earliest age to make thank you cards for grandparents and other people who give them gifts. If they are too young to write out a message, I have them tell me what to write so that it is their own message of thanks. 

4. Be a good example. I need to carry an attitude of thankfulness in my daily life. This includes more than being courteous when given a gift. It means taking notice of personal blessings, verbally expressing thankfulness for health, fun, play, work and answered prayers, to name a few.

5. Thank God. I want to teach my children to pray including praise and thanks as much as they include requests. 

When thankfulness is a way of life in our homes, we are not only building courteous people, we are also building happier ones. 

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By Gwen Scott Simmons. Copyright © 2008 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture take from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

1 2 Corinthians 9:7

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