Have you ever had your child display an unthankful heart? I know I have. It’s not a pleasant sight to see a child “expect”and/or “demand” something. In fact, God warns us of where an unthankful heart will lead us, and our children, in Romans chapter 1. Take a look:
Rom 1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
When we fail to be thankful and glorify God we become vain in our imaginations and our foolish hearts are darkened. Have you ever wondered, “How do the deceived get so deceived?” Have you ever prayed, “Please don’t ever give me over to my depraved mind dear Lord. Please, don’t ever let me be deceived.” I know I have! The worst part about being deceived, in my mind, is that the deceived never know they’re deceived! I don’t ever want to know that my children walk in the deception because I failed to teach them the importance of a thankful heart! Training our children in thankfulness is critical, for a depraved mind and deceived soul begin with an unthankful heart!
We know the importance of teaching our children to be thankful so how do we do it. How do we get past the outward actions of saying, “please” and “thank you” and know that we have encouraged thankfulness to spring up from the heart and overflow into their daily choices and actions? Let me share with you a few things we have done in our home.
- Pray daily, with your children, asking God to give you thankful hearts!
- Remember the importance of your example! Do you complain often? Make sure that you are displaying a thankful heart yourself. Your children are watching! They are sure to see when your actions don’t meet up with your words.
- Say, “thank you” often. There is a wealth of instruction in the Scriptures about our speech. Make sure your speech represents a thankful heart. Continually find things throughout the day to be thankful for. The bird that fluttered at the window, the big white clouds, the wooden blocks, daddy’s service to the family, Grandma’s phone call, and the list could go on and on. Make sure you are sharing all the things you are thankful for throughout the day, no matter how small, and encouraging your child to give thanks also.
- Claim a day as, “A Day of Thanks”. Count how many things you can be thankful for that day if you get to 100 enjoy a home made cookie together! Count your blessings, give thanks for them, for they are many!
- Help your children make a flag to hang that says, “Thankful hearts reside here.”
- Teach older children how to use the Strong's concordance and find all the verse with the word ‘thanks’ or ‘thanksgiving’.
- Have the children write out all the Bible verses that they found, put them on colored index cards, and then place around the house.
- Don’t get lazy and let your child “demand” their own way. Tenderly instruct them on how to ask nicely and then say, “thank you” afterwards. Often a child will ask nicely but they walk away once they get what they want and refuse or delay in saying, “thank you.” Make sure that you are faithful in these little training moments and work with them until they behave appropriately. All the while telling them the importance of giving thanks for what God has so graciously given.
- Take a nature walk and call it a walk of ‘Thanksgiving’. Counting all the things you can be thankful for.
- Before bedtime recount all the things you had to be thankful for today and make sure you lead your child in prayer giving thanks to God for them.
Perhaps these ideas will spur on your own creative ideas. Make sure you pray about it, talk with your husband and only do as the Lord directs. Remember, I don’t share as someone who knows it all; I share as you Sister. May the Lord always be glorified in our sharing!
With much love,
Mrs. Joseph Wood