Friday, February 05, 2010

Cultivating Thankfulness

We've all seen or known them: kids whose attitude is selfish, always expecting things from others. They never express thanks for gifts or services received--at least not sincere thanks. Perhaps they're unsatisfied with a gift or favor, and they may even say so. Aggravating, isn't it?

Of course, we can not expect children to naturally possess a spirit of thankfulness. They are, after all, children! They're immature; they have much to learn about... well, everything.

That's where we, the parents, come in! I believe thankfulness is, in part, a learned attitude--taught both by observation and by practice. As with any other habit, it won't be long before thankfulness has become a part of a child's life.

Even more disturbing than an ungrateful child is an ungrateful adult. Don't you agree? I want to cultivate a spirit of thankfulness in my children now, so that it will become a first response.

Thankfully, (*grin*) we are blessed with a whole host of people who aid me in my endeavor! Our family and friends and church folks are a tremendously generous bunch. They give us plenty of opportunities to cultivate thankfulness, by their donations of time, energy, and resources! And each time they do so, we make it a point to discuss it with the kids.

Here's an example: Recently a church friend gave several clothing items to Olivia. The clothes were in perfect condition, just the right size, and really stylish. (Athough these things are irrelevant--we were thankful, no matter the clothes' condition--they surely do help foster that lovin' feelin'!) As we looked through them, I purposely got "overly" excited about them, exclaiming how lovely the clothes were and how thoughtful it was of Mrs. E to give them to us. We also talked about how good our God is to take such great care of us.

When we had finished going through the bag, Olivia looked up and said, "We should write a thank-you note to Mrs. E for all these nice things!" And we did.
And the next time we saw Mrs. E, we made sure to thank her in person, too.

"and let the peace of God rule in your hearts, ... and be ye thankful." Colossians 3:15