Some think that thankfulness is part of your natural ability, like being able to sing or being a good writer–either you have it or you don’t. I don’t belong to that group. Others think it is something you catch, like a cold. I don’t happen to belong to that group either. I believe that gratitute is a learned behavior, a lifestyle that takes a lot of effort to maintain.
Human nature is to be ego-centric. We naturally care about ourselves and not much else. Most other things we care about only because they affect us in some way. It takes a lot of work to pull ourselves out of the “ego-centrifugal force” and into a new orbit.
in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.1 Cor. 5:18
Oh, that men would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare His works with rejoicing.Psalm 107:21, 22
The work, the sacrifice of putting to death the flesh and living a thankful life, pulls us into another orbit. If we live in a thankful orbit, we will be more thankful all day, every day. We will seek out His Providence at work in our lives. We will be sensitized to it.
It is not enough to live thankful lives ourselves. How do we raise thankful children? We make it a habit they can see. We make every effort to demonstrate thankfulness as we go through our day. Some easy ways to do that are:
- Be an example of a life full of thanksgiving.
- Create a thankfulness box. Write one thing on a slip of paper each day and at Thanksgiving read the year’s thankful notes.
- Start a thankfulness journal. Make it available to the whole family. Write in it each day.
- Start your day with praise and thanksgiving.
- Memorize thankfulness scriptures.
- Make a list of things your are thankful for. Add to it each day, eventually taping papers together into a long, long scroll.
- Create a thankfulness tree. Write things on paper leaves or ornaments and add to the tree.
- Think of things you are thankful for using all the letters of the alphabet.
- Write letters for gifts received before the gift can be used.
- Pray together regularly. Always begin your prayers with praise and thanksgiving
- Help others in need. You will be thankful for what you have.
- Pray that your children’s eyes will be opened to their blessings and that a grateful attitude will become a part of their Christian character.
- Pare down their belongings. Sometimes less really is more.
- Acknowledge their thankful ways.
We must pull our children into orbit around the Son, where He is the center of everything. When they are in the right place, thankfulness will come more easily because their eyes are fixed on the one Who gives to all liberally.