Have you ever encountered this scenario in your home? … Your kids go into the kitchen for a snack. They open up the cupboards, move around all the boxes, bags and cans of food trying to find something to eat, and then make this amazing declaration, “There ain’t nothing to eat in this house!”
Oh, my…how I wish I could say that’s never happened in our house before!
November is considered “Thanksgiving” month, but we all know that thanksgiving is not something to be limited to one month out of the year, but something that needs to be present all year round in our families and our homes.
But is it? How do we cultivate a lifestyle of thankfulness that lasts all year round and ultimately becomes a part of the fabric of our children’s character for life?
Here are some suggestions or reminders for how to bless your kids with the life-long gift of thankfulness:
- Don’t give them everything they want. Overly spoiled kids are usually not overly grateful kids. It’s important to remember that we do well for both our kids and ourselves not to give them everything their hearts desire. Some of the biggest enemies to a thankful heart are materialism, instant gratification and always getting what we want. However, some of the greatest assets to developing a thankful heart are discipline, delayed gratification and hard work.
- Take whining and complaining very seriously. Philippians 2:14 is a great verse to memorize and remind each other of as a family. God commands us to “Do all things without murmurings and disputings.” And if God commands it, we would do well to require it in our homes. Give the members of your family permission to quote this verse to each other when needed, and establish some incentives and/or consequences in your home for when thankfulness is displayed or found lacking.
- Regularly serve and expose them to people with less. There are so many ways that you can do this, but here are just a few ideas:
- Find families with less that you can serve or give to during the holiday season.
- Volunteer your family’s time to serve in a ministry at your church or in your community.
- Save up some money and take your kids on a mission trip to open their eyes to how blessed they are.
- Encourage your kids to look for ways to be generous to other children with what they have.
- The more our children are exposed to others with less, the more easily they will develop a gracious attitude toward them, as well as a greater gratitude toward God.
- Make family prayer a time of giving thanks, not just a time of asking. Every family would do well to have times of family prayer beyond just praying around the dinner table. Make family prayer a time to celebrate God’s goodness and kindness in your lives. Every once in a while, take time to pray as a family without asking for anything at all, but spending all of your prayer time allowing each person to only pray for what they are thankful for. Prayer and thanksgiving are often closely linked in Scripture, and for good reason (Phil. 4:6, Col. 4:2).
- Be a thankful person yourself. No matter what else you do to try to raise thankful children, if you fail to be a thankful person yourself, actions will always speak louder than words. I’m absolutely amazed sometimes at both the little and big things that kids imitate from their parents, from simple things like mannerisms to more important things like attitudes and character traits. Never forget that your children are simply mini versions of you. Whatever you are becoming, so are they. Be a thankful person.
If you’re serious about blessing your kids with the gift of thankfulness, here’s a great place to start… As a family, commit one or all of these verses to memory in the month of November.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. Psalm 100:4
O Come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. Psalm 95:1-3
In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. I Thessalonians 5:18
As a help, here’s a Free PDF that you can save or print to help your family commit these verses to memory this month.
This article originally appeared here.