How to Practice Thankfulness for the Regular Stuff in Life
Being parents who follow Jesus means we have a sweet responsibility to instruct our kids on how to let thankfulness be a way of life, which is so clearly laid out in Scripture. Natalie reminds us how and why to do just that.
“Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.” Psalm 107:8-9
When we are growing up, some of the first phrases we are taught to say are “Please” and “Thank you.” I remember not getting what I asked for unless I said, “Please” before and, “Thank you,” after. Often, even as kids, our natural tendency is to take the simple things in life for granted.
How might we instill gratitude in our kids in a way that would go beyond just words and characterize their life?
- Model giving thanks. As kids are growing up, they learn a lot about what they should or should not do by watching others, especially the ones who are taking care of them like their parents. If we desire a certain response from our kids, then we should be living out those things as well. Our kids will not know what a thankful spirit looks like unless it is something practiced in front of them. “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22 This includes showing them how to be thankful for the daily things like food, clothing, a house, and so many more. Let’s be quick to point out God’s daily provisions.
- Help them understand WHY they are called to be thankful. When we have an attitude of gratitude, our perspective sees the upside of situations. When we lose sight of being thankful, we too easily start complaining and grumbling…we can quickly sink into all kinds of selfishness. We have so much to be thankful for on a daily basis and the Lord designed us to live with this perspective through His Spirit. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
- Show them what gratitude produces. Scripture speaks to the reality of experiencing hardship, and at times we might lose sight of how the Lord continues to bless and provide for us.In the same way, kids can lose sight of how parents love and care for them when there are hard things. However, there are always things to be thankful for, and we have the beautiful opportunity to speak that perspective into their lives. We get to remind them of the ways the Lord shows up and how our gratitude results praise and honor to the One who gave up His life so we might experience life. “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:6-7
Let’s be a thankful people who raise up another generation of people marked by thankfulness ALL for the honor and praise to the One who blesses His people each day.
Camper Corner: Spend some time reflecting and thinking about your day. What are some things you are thankful for? Write those things down. Also, challenge yourself to do this every day for a week. Watch how much more you are aware of things to be thankful for when you actually take time to notice them.