Thanksgiving is on the horizon and it's the perfect time to give thanks for all the blessings in our lives. And here's a challenge — this Thanksgiving resolve to make giving thanks a part of your family's daily routine. Whether that means a quick and meaningful word of prayer before a meal or something more elaborate, we have much to be thankful for and should try to remind our children of that everyday.
Here are a few ways to teach your children about being thankful:
Develop a sense of serving others in your family's life. What does that mean? It means putting others first in areas of your life. For instance, are there opportunities at your church or in your community where your family can serve others in a positive way? The actions can be small — assisting at a food bank, helping a neighbor with a house repair project, purchasing a meal for a family in need — but the rewards will be immense. The bottom line is to look for ways to help others and there is no doubt that by keeping your eyes open to these possibilities, they will present themselves.
At this time of year we see need all around us. There are a multitude of places and chances to donate money, items and time. Take time to involve your children in the process of selecting toys for a needy child or digging through old clothes or shoes in your home to give away to those in need of help. Remind them that the holidays are not the only time to help others; that it's a lifetime commitment.
Sponsor a Child
Many churches give members a chance to sponsor a less fortunate child for the holidays. This is a perfect opportunity to include your children in the process of buying toys for another child. Try to find a child who is about the same age as your child so they will be able to pick out a toy they might like. Again, challenge your family to try and give throughout the year.
Give Thanks Often
This is something that you can incorporate into your daily life. Find times — like praying before meals or before bedtime — when you and your children can pause, reflect and show your appreciation for what you've been given. There also might be times in the course of your normal, day-to-day activities when you can remind your children of the blessings you have in your lives.
Sometimes just offering the words "thank you" can help create a habit of gratitude. Remind your children from an early age that when someone does something nice for them, a "thank you" is the appropriate response.