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Mommy and the Joyful Three

About This Blogger

Erin James is the author of a mom blog on whattoexpect.com. She is a mother of three whose passion is helping other moms and dads with positive parenting.

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Teaching True Gratitude to Your Kids


With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, there has been a lot of talk about being thankful. Often, you will find that people go out of their way to convey their appreciation this time of year. However, it is so important to remind our children and ourselves to always be thankful.

Recently, I was at the park with a friend’s son, he surprised me with his manners. My children know the importance of saying “thank you” and “please”, but this four year old was so polite that it just melted my heart.

It wasn’t just that he expressed his gratitude in words; you could see it was coming from his heart. The best part was that he was not being grateful for something big. It was just little things throughout his day that he treasured.

It made me think about recently when I took my own children on a trip to Disney World. Rather than being thankful, they expected certain things and complained. I was heart broken. As a parent, I was looking forward to giving to them this gift of a fun vacation. Their reactions made me think about when God gives me gifts and I complain about them or expect more. Our Heavenly Father wants us to have an appreciative heart.

That trip made me realize I have been doing a poor job of teaching gratitude to my children. It even made me rethink how I respond to God. Am I thankful or a complainer?

It is just as important to be thankful that there is air in your lungs, a sun in the sky, or food on your table as it is that you got a big promotion, new car, or house. In an effort to teach my kids and myself to be thankful for the little things in life, I came up with the following two ideas.

A Thankful Jar

It is a small jar where they can put pictures they’ve drawn of what makes them happy. At the end of the day, we take them out and discuss them during our prayer time.

Thank You Cards

I also have them write thank you cards, and not ones just for presents. These notes tell loved ones how happy my kids are to have them in their lives. This is a great way to show your children that they should always let the people around them know how much they mean to them.

There is always something to be thankful for in life. God blesses us all of the time, even if we sometimes over look those blessings.

The Bible tells us to be thankful in all things. That means we must thank Him even when life isn’t going as planned.

Psalm 95:1-6 (KJV) says: "O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto Him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In His hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is His also. The sea is His, and He made it: and his hands formed the dry land. O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker."

It is not only important to teach your children to say thank you, but also to live your life like you really mean it. If your children watch you live your life with gratitude, they will be grateful as well. Praise God in all things; show the people in your life they mean something to you. Be thankful even toward strangers you come across.

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year to convey your thanks and gratitude, yet it really should be something we constantly show. This year, I pray my family becomes more thankful.

I hope everyone has a great holiday. Thanks to all of you who visit CBN.com. Be blessed!

Print      Email to a Friend    posted on Monday, November 21, 2011 4:49 PM

Comments on this post

# RE: Teaching True Gratitude to Your Kids

A good friend taught me that large gifts can be overwhelming to small children. Then the parents wonder why they are not showing gratitude. It is easier, it draws children forward, rather, to give a small gift. Picture smaller portions as on a plate.

Also, the 5 Love Languages is good information. Maybe this was just not their language/ you might have been expecting them to appreciate your own language, perhaps. Small children do not have the growth and capacity to appreciate your sacrifice/ large giving. Sounds like Mom was the one who was not the happy camper:) for them not meeting your expectations. It is just marketing, really. Lighten up and be thankful your own self for your little blessings. :) Happy Thanksgiving. And thanks for your helpful blogs. It gets people thinking.
Left by laney on Nov 22, 2011 1:45 PM