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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving thoughts !!

As we meet with our families, eat our turkey, and enjoy our pumpkin pie this thanksgiving... lets focus on
What is abundantly flowing from your heart--  Along with some practical ways you can help your child show thankfulness!!

So often parents think their children are too young to understand what they are taught. If the most formidable years are the first few years of life, why do parents think this way? You are your child’s first and most-effective teacher in life. Play that to your advantage! If you want your children to be thankful outside of your home, you must teach them to be thankful within your four walls.
Here are just a few of the ways I try to teach my daughter, almost 3 ½, to be thankful:

1. We thank Jesus for the day.
It doesn’t have to be daily, but here are two examples of how to make this part of your normal conversation: When the temperature cools down I’ll tell her, “Cadence, the Lord blessed us with a beautiful day, didn’t he?” Or when rain comes after a much-needed dry spell I’ll say to her, “We need to thank Jesus for sending the rain – our plants sure needed it!”

2. We talk about how the Lord has blessed Daddy with a great job & one that allows me to stay at home with her.
I cannot stress enough the importance of teaching your children that your husband’s job is a blessing – not a curse, even if he works more than you’d like him to. Your children pick up so quickly on your attitude about your husband’s job, and they will follow your lead of being thankful for it or despising it. Remember, your view & attitude about your husband’s job is also teaching your child about how she should view her job (or her husband’s job) when she becomes an adult. It also teaches her about work ethic & responsibility. So stress the positive things about your husband’s job; after all, nowadays we should all be thankful if our husband does have a job, especially one that allows us to stay at home with our children.

3. Teach your child to say “Please” and “Thank you”, even if you have to solicit it.
Sure, it’s uncomfortable to take your child to Chick-fil-A and at the end of the meal ask, “Now what do you say to Mommy for taking you out to lunch?” But if you want your child to learn to say it at all, especially when you aren’t around, you have to start with expecting your child to say it to you. Trust me, your heart will completely melt when your child starts saying it to you without being prompted! And when you hear your child say it to someone else without being prompted, your heart will soar!

4. Send thank-you cards.
For the most part, people really do like being thanked for doing something nice for someone. Everyone enjoys a pat on the back and acknowledgment for their good deeds. This may seem like an old-school practice to you, but if you want your children to be thankful, it’s a must. Even a two-year-old can “sign” her name to a hand-written card that you write “from” her. When they’re young, write thank you notes from them, and do it in their presence. You have to tell your child what you’re doing in order for her to learn that “it’s just what we do”. Once your child does start writing, or becoming more interested in it, she will take much pride in signing her name to the card. You can ask her what she’d like to say and write it down. Or have her draw/write something & tell you what it says; then you write the “interpretation” under her art/words. Remember to write thank you cards yourself, as well!

5. “Practice what you preach.”
I don’t know how much I really believe that “actions speak louder than words”…when it comes to being thankful and teaching our children to be thankful, our actions and words are synonymous I think. When you live your life speaking and showing your thankfulness for what you have, what others do for you and how others treat you, and doing so in times of crisis or blessing, you are teaching those principles to your children. When you complain, aren’t quick to say thank you, and don’t acknowledge God or the giver for the things you have and are blessed with, then you are sending a very strong & negative message to your children. Remember that your children will say and do exactly what you say and do… so what exactly do you want that to sound & look like?

I close with two scriptures that come to my mind: (from the NIV version)
The Bible tells us in Luke 12:48, “…From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” This scripture reminds me that the Lord indeed blesses us, and if we are blessed with much, then more is expected from us. I think gratitude falls into that category. How can you ask God to continue to bless you when you don’t bless him and thank Him for what He’s already given you and done for you?

And Romans 13:7 (NIV) instructs us to “Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”
I cannot think of any instruction more important to follow than that which comes from the scripture itself. If someone does something nice for you, is generous toward you, says a kind or thoughtful word, etc., then isn’t it appropriate to give him the honor (thankfulness, gratitude…) he is due? My response is most certainly “YES!”

I want to be a thankful person, and I want my children to be likewise for out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks (Luke 6:45) … What is truly coming from your heart, and what would you like to come forth from your child’s heart?

We want to thank TRACY LAWLOR for sharing her thanksgiving thoughts with us!!   We wish you all a fabulous Thanksgiving!  We have a lot to be thankful for! Many Blessings,
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