Though working on ME isn’t really what I want to do, by cultivating gratitude in MY OWN heart and life, my children WILL begin to cultivate gratitude as well. Here are three tips to get us started developing our own attitude of gratitude so that we can begin modeling it for the kids.
Am I Grateful or Am I Grumbling?
Personal evaluation time. Am I modeling gratefulness? -OR- Am I modeling grumbling? I’ll be the first to admit that I get into a funk and slip into being a GRUMBLER from time to time. How about you? Some seasons of life seem to bring out the grumbling more than others, too.
How can you quickly identify gratitude vs. grumbling? Listen for these tip-offs:
“If ONLY __________ then I’d be happy.” -OR-
“I wish I had ___________. That would make me content.”
Because of my sinful human nature, gratefulness honestly doesn’t come that naturally. I succumb to the second law of thermodynamics and I spiral towards disintegration rather than becoming more organized and, in this case, grateful! Am I doing something, ANYTHING!, to help myself foster an attitude of gratitude? Participating in the Good Morning Girls Thanksgiving Study is keeping me focused on gratitude right now. Reading Scriptures about gratitude, doing my SOAP journaling, keeping a list of things I’m grateful for One Thousand Gifts – style, and glancing at the list inside my kitchen cabinet that reminds me of ALL my blessings especially compared to the burdens others bear.
To help the kids think about what they’re grateful for each day, I put a vase in the middle of the table and surrounded it with some slips of autumn colored paper. I encourage the kids to write a few things down that they are thankful for and we try to read them aloud at dinner time. If you have younger children, you might consider reading the book, The Blessings Jar, and making your own together. I’m hoping this coming week to give each of them a little jar and have us all put specific encouragements for why we are thankful for each member of the family. We’ll see….
Is there a visible contrast in your children’s life of how blessed they are? Are they packing Shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child? Do they volunteer with your at church with those less fortunate? Do they gather their out-grown clothes or toys to pass on to others who can use them? There may be a tendency to focus on material blessings with your kids because they are concrete, visible, and easily accessible, but also take advantage of pointing out some other blessings. Are your children blessed to know Jesus and His saving love and have parents who love them? The blessing of living in a FREE COUNTRY is something we’ve been giving thanks for with Verteran’s Day. Do your kids say thank you to Veterans they meet who have protected that freedom?
The more focused on gratitude I am, the more readily I remember to point out ALL THE BLESSINGS to my children, which in turn helps them to recognize these blessings and be grateful for them. So, for now, in our home, gratitude starts with me. God bless you as He cultivates a heart of gratitude in you.