I know how easy it is to grumble and complain especially when I'm overly busy with things....and as the holidays approach it seems at times to overwhelm me and I find myself complaining. If y’all are anything like me then you might agree that we are a generation struggling with distraction and discontentment. We are surrounded with beautiful images on Pinterest and our souls are never satisfied. We read blogs and long for other people’s gifts/marriages/kids/lives. We have heads that are filled up with expectations and hearts that are heavy with guilt.
We are missing something.
WE ARE MISSING GRATITUDE.
And I have determined to figure this out because gratitude leads to contentment and contentment leads to joy and I want that for my kids more than anything.
I have done some research and am trying to make a way for this to be how my kids are learning about gratitude in our home…
Say It For Them –
Any time my kids should be thanking me or my husband or someone else for something and they are not, I will simply remind them. If I have just served them pancakes and they take their plates without so much as a backward glance, I will say, “Thank you, Mommy!” My kids know that this is their cue to repeat after me. If they don’t right away, I will keep saying, “Thank you, Mommy!” until they do. Likewise, when my kids are starting to get grumbly about leaving the playground, I will say, “Thank you, Mommy, for taking us to the park! That was so nice of you!” Or if someone starts to whine about what I have cooked for dinner, “Thank you, Mommy, for making this yummy dinner for us!” This usually quiets their complaints as their perspective is given a helping hand.
Sometimes we just have to PUT THE WORDS IN THEIR MOUTHS. Then, one magical day, those words will come back out all on their own (I have lived to see this – hallelujah!!).
Just Say No –
Don’t give your kids everything they want right when they want it. The End.
But seriously, we need to watch out for this. We are mommas. We like to give our kiddos good things. But often the good thing is to say no and endure the possible, *temporary* fallout (I’m looking at you tantrum in the toy aisle at Walmart) because ALL THE THINGS and instant gratification can muddy the waters of appreciation. Instead, make them wait for something, work for something, or be challenged to just be satisfied with the somethings that are right in front of them. I am certainly NOT perfect at this BUT I am a perfect work in progress.
Acts of Appreciation –
Do nice things for people as a way to show your thanks. The boys and I are always finding little ways to bless teachers, daddy mowing the neighbors yard, blessing the super wash guy with cookies, WHOEVER.
Biblical Inspiration –
We can’t rely on the old phrase, “Because I said so,” desr friends! Our children need to understand the biblical truth behind why we do what we do and say what we say, so teach them God’s heart on the matter of thanksgiving.
- We can be thankful that God’s love for us will never run out.Psalm 107:1
- We can give thanks for our salvation. Hebrews 12:28
- We can use gratitude to help us trust Jesus with our worries. Philippians 4:6
- We can give thanks in the good and the bad. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
- We can use songs to give thanks. Psalm 95:2
- We can give thanks for our food because Jesus did.Matthew 15:36
- We can give thanks for what Jesus has done for us. Luke 17:11-19
Model, Model, Model –
This is IT! Most of what our kids will learn from us will be ‘caught’ rather than ‘taught’, so if we spend a large majority of the time complaining about chores, dishes, messes, our weight/looks, inconveniences, hard things, our homes, people, etc., we must remember that our children are listening.
Instead, get that precious heart of yours filled up with the grace and kindness of Christ. Let Him remind you of your many, many blessings – your salvation being the ultimate gift. Let Him remind you that He is in control. That He loves you and cares about every detail of your life. Our hearts will be transformed as we make Christ our ultimate satisfaction and we will not be able to keep the resulting gratitude to ourselves. This will translate into gracious encounters with others.
When the bagger at the grocery store has just carefully put everything in your cart and you thank him, those little ears will hear.
When your husband comes home from a busy day at work and you thank him for all that he does to provide for your family, those little ears will hear.
When you are on the phone with the doctor’s office and you speak kindly and thank them for their help at the end of the conversation, those little ears will hear.
When your children are all ready for school and waiting by the door without 10,000 reminders to get in the car, you will joyfully thank them and they will hear.
When you rise each morning and greet your kids with a smile and commit to rejoicing in the day that the Lord has made, they will hear and see.
And it will make a difference.
And here is the kicker...YOU will be happier as you give gratitude and THAT will teach gratitude!!
I am so incredibly THANKFUL for our sweet boys and my wonderful hubby!!! This year I decided to do "thanksgiving cards" for our holiday card instead of Christmas cards to change it up a bit! Here are a few of our new family pictures!!