In today’s culture, thankfulness has gone out the window with other courtesies. “It’s all about me” is truly the mantra of most you meet. “It’s all about God” is supposed to be the mantra of Christians. When was the last time you actually stopped in the middle of the day and thanked God for something? Don’t assume anything is by chance or luck. Assume everything is by God.
Our son and his wife started teaching our grandson to sign the words “Thank you” before he was a year old. Did he understand what it meant? No, of course he didn’t. Should they have stopped requiring him to use it?
I will never forget when we first heard the phrase, “Actions precede beliefs.” (in GKGW) What does this mean? It means as parents, it is good to require your kids to give the action (saying “thank you”) before they believe it is a polite thing to do. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
When a child is old enough to understand why it is a good thing to be polite, the next step is for them to believe it is the right thing to do. Once they believe it is the right thing to do, they will start doing it (because they have already been in the habit of doing it) without intervention on your behalf.
Showing thankful hearts on a regular basis leads to contentment, a blessing in itself. I just saw on FB today where a friend and her two daughters made cookies, put them in baskets they had decorated and took them to a couple homes in their neighborhood where older folks lived. When they were invited in, the girls asked the older folks to share a story when they were the same age as the girls were. Mom said this was a delightful time for all.
You can cultivate grateful hearts by giving to others. Ask your kids how they can show their thankfulness for all God has given them by giving to others. Come up with a few specific things and do them!
-By Joey and Carla Link