Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and it is the time of year when many of us begin to really count our blessings.
My oldest daughter is slightly pessimistic when it comes to certain situations. She tends to see the glass half empty and not half full. I often explain to her the importance of being thankful for even the small things and to not worry about not getting what she wants constantly. Still, she will cry even at the most fun events if one thing does not go her way.
She asked me the other day how it is possible to be thankful even when you do not get what you want all of the time. I began to laugh because I have struggled with this, as most of us have at one time or another in our lives.
We can find good or bad depending on how we choose to perceive it. We can also do this with the people. Some are fit with natural blinders to us; the mistakes of our children and significant others are sometimes easier to forgive than strangers because of the strong relationships we have with them.
There are also times when we search for the bad in certain people in our lives to try and find a way to push them away or because we are angry we continue to try and find reasons to place the anger towards them.
I tried to explain to my daughter that a thankful heart is one that looks past all wrong and unhappiness to find the joy in life.
God looks at all of us with a thankful heart. We are His creation and His joy. Even when it seems nobody loves you or you are at your lowest, His love can surround you and keep you feeling safe and complete if you allow it.
I told my daughter that to be truly thankful you have to know the love of Jesus. Your heart is incapable of the gratitude towards life that we should have if Jesus is not inside of it.
I decided a fun project to do with my children would be to make giant hearts out of construction paper and have them draw or write the things they are grateful for with Jesus’ name in the center of the heart. I explained that God is the center of our lives and all that we have is from Him and because of His unconditional love.
My daughters loved this project. Even my three-year-old son, who drew frogs and scribbles, seemed to understand what we were doing and why.
I then put a picture of family in a heart and explained that because Jesus loves us unconditionally we should extend that love to our family and friends. We should show them our gratitude and how we appreciate their place in our lives. Love should be unconditional. Of course, we are not always capable of this love. But if we look at those around us with a gracious heart, then we can be more tolerant and love them through it.
I want my children to always see the beauty in their surroundings and not focus on small problems that can ruin a day for no reason. We should always try to see the positive.
Thanksgiving is a great time to teach your children about gratitude. What are some of your favorite ways to show your thankfulness?