As a parent who has been given 6 delightful lives to nurture and guide in Biblical values and truths, I want my children to learn how to live always in a thankful mindset. In scripture we are told that it is God's will for us to be thankful in everything we experience.....good times and bad.
"In everything give thanks:
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
1 Thessalonians 5:18
This verse certainly gives no limitations on when we are to be expressing thanksgiving to our Lord, so even though we certainly do verbalize things we are thankful for at this time in November, I want my children to learn that we should be thanking Him ALL the time!!
But practically, how do we do this? How do I teach my children to be thankful for EVERYTHING? For the things that are good in our lives, as well as the things that are uncomfortable or, dare I say, downright ugly?
For one thing, I think it takes practice. Naturally, we are grumblers and complainers. I know I am anyway.
It takes a conscious effort on our part, a disciplined mind, to praise the Lord in difficult times.
"Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
and (enter) into his courts with praise.
Be thankful unto Him,
and bless His name.
(1.) For the Lord is good.
(2.) His mercy is everlasting.
(3). His truth endureth to all generations."
My children are memorizing this entire Psalm this month, and I think it's significant to point out to my babes that no where in this scripture are we commanded to thank the Lord for the circumstances around us or the material possessions we have. Our focus is to be on the attributes of our Heavenly Father. We can always find something to praise Him for because we know that God never changes. He is always good. His truth never changes. His mercy to us is "new every morning!"
Another way I can teach my children to be thankful is to learn to see things the way our Heavenly Father sees things. We don't always understand why things happen to us that we may perceive as being "bad". But scripture tells us:
"And we know that all things work together for good
to them that love God,
to them who are the called according to his purpose."
I want my children to understand that even though we don't know the outcome, our Heavenly Father has the blueprint of our life that He is following, and that sometimes we have sorrowful, or painful, or hard times to teach us to trust Him more, or for a purpose that we may not even be aware of yet. We are told to just be thankful. Even if we don't understand.....even when it seems illogical...we must trust Him.
Finally, I want to teach my children to write things down!! Write out everyday something you can be thankful for!! Two of my favorite ideas are found at :
"And let the peace of God rule in your hearts,
to the which also ye are called in one body;
and be ye thankful."