5 Ways to Cultivate a Thankful Heart in Your Children

5 Ways to Cultivate a Thankful Heart in your Kids

As we move past Thanksgiving and into the Christmas season of giving, our thoughts turn to counting our blessings in a meaningful way. It can be discouraging to see materialism and selfishness abounding in our culture, but even more discouraging to realize that we can see our own children (and ourselves if we’re completely honest) taking everyday God-given blessings for granted. The only solution to this problem is to be intentional about cultivating a thankful heart, not just around the holidays, but throughout the year. This is an excellent time to start or to renew our efforts.

Here are some practical tips to teaching our children about gratitude:

1. Count your blessings, literally ~ Keep a blessings journal. We have used the My Book of Thanks printable keepsake journal, which was created by homeschool mom Heather Bowen of Upside Down Homeschooling. If your children are too little to do it themselves, help them talk about their blessings and write it down for them. Remind them that it’s not just what we get, but what we give. Being a blessing to others should be a focus.

2. Memorize Bible verses about thankfulness ~ There are obviously plenty of verses to choose from, but here are a few that might be easier for children to memorize:

Psalm 69:30 I will praise the name of God with song, And shall magnify Him with thanksgiving.

1 Chronicles 16:34 O give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His loving kindness is everlasting.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 100:4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving, And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him; bless His name.

3. Give to others ~ When we give to others who are less fortunate, it reminds us to be thankful for what we have. Donate to your favorite charity, volunteer in your community, and teach your children to do the same. There are opportunities all around, especially at this time of year.

4. Praise and prayer ~ Part of teaching thankfulness includes teaching our kids how to pray. I’ve worked on giving guidelines and suggestions to my girls, but I emphasize that prayer is meant to be a personal conversation so they don’t feel that there is a “cookie cutter” prayer. We try to remember to start each prayer with a word of thanks and praise. We also end each prayer that way. This keeps gratitude at the front of our minds, rather than just a laundry list of needs.

5. Be a good example ~ Okay, I will admit here that I struggle with this sometimes. I catch myself starting to complain about a bad day or too much work to do or another mess to clean up. I have to remember that my daughters are listening (even when I think they aren’t!) and will pick up my attitude. If I want them to have a thankful heart, I must have one myself! Complaining and thankfulness really can’t co-exist.

These are just a few simple first steps in cultivating a thankful heart in your children. Of course it takes an intentional effort to guide them every day. Grace and patience are also things to be grateful for, which are two qualities we need in good measure when building a foundation of thankfulness.

Sara (16 Posts)

I'm a reader, writer, dreamer, wife, and homeschooling mom of 3 girls. We take a relaxed, eclectic, Charlotte Mason-leaning, Montessori-ish, literature-rich, delight-directed, almost unschooling-at-times approach to learning. Lots of unit studies, field trips, and lapbooks, too. I like to blog about our learning adventures (plus faith and encouragement) at Embracing Destiny.


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Time and Doubt

Recently I was meeting my sister for coffee and I arrived before she did. I noticed that with the passing of time, doubt began to knock at the door of my thoughts. “Are you sure this is the right time?” “Is this the location you agreed upon, or is she going to a different store?” “Is this really Thursday?”

161-evening sky_sooc

I’ve found that in those situations, the longer I have to wait, the more I question. Am I the only one? I don’t think so. Why are we like that? Why does the passage of time – be it a few minutes, hours, days, or even longer? When God doesn’t answer a prayer or fulfill something in the time frame that we expect, do we begin to doubt Him? I think we do. I know that I’ve heard it from plenty of people. It seems to be an issue of our fallen human nature and it’s been going on since biblical times. Abraham and Sarah had plenty of waiting accompanied by a big helping of doubt. Do you suppose that David ever doubted he’d become king? Particularly when the king was trying to kill him?

I think we forget that God is never late. Nor is He too early; He’s right on time – according to His ways, not ours.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”” Isaiah 55:8-9

How does this apply to your homeschooling and parenting? Have you ever felt like your child was never going to progress in a certain area? Perhaps in some responsibility? Potty training? Math skill? What about an attitude problem? Now please don’t take this to mean that I believe God will fix everything in your child’s life (according to your definition of fix). That’s entirely up to Him. But when you have to battle over a certain issue for a longer period of time than you expect, do you ever begin to doubt? Regardless of what God plans to do, we have to remember that He offers us true hope. He doesn’t have evil planned against us.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you and you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13

The only useful response to doubts and anxiety is to turn them over to the Lord. He’s the only one who can affect change of any value. He’s ever faithful and trustworthy. Don’t worry when time passes, turn to Him in trust and hope.

My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory; the rock of my strength, and my refuge is in God. Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah. Psalm 62:5-8

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

A Word From Our Sponsors

The 2014 Confident Mom Weekly Household Planner
***Bring Master Art Teacher TOS/HEF columnist Pat Knepley into your home! Year’s curriculum. Step-by-step lessons. Biblical integration. www.seethelightshine.com***
***Share the meaning of Easter with your children with A Sense of the Resurrection: an Easter Experience for Families.***

May 2013 Flowers Desktop Wallpaper

May Free Poppy Wallpaper from @hsbapost

The grass withers and the flowers fall,but the word of our God endures forever. Isaiah 40:8

The month we thought it would be fun to add a list of May holidays to our wallpaper. We’ve also added additional sizes to accommodate more screens.

1280×800

1366×768

1440×900

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Enjoy!

 

Lisa Baldwin (59 Posts)

Disciple of Christ, Wife, Mother of Four, Homeschooler, Crafter, Designer (Graphics and CSS/HTML), Blogger. I share too much, laugh at the wrong things, and fall on my backside regularly. Thank goodness Jesus ignores all of that and loves me anyway.


A Word From Our Sponsors

The 2014 Confident Mom Weekly Household Planner
***Bring Master Art Teacher TOS/HEF columnist Pat Knepley into your home! Year’s curriculum. Step-by-step lessons. Biblical integration. www.seethelightshine.com***
***Share the meaning of Easter with your children with A Sense of the Resurrection: an Easter Experience for Families.***