Who doesn’t want a grateful kid? Every parent longs for their child to show appreciation for the kindness extended to them- whether by friend, family or stranger.
But a thankful heart is not something that happens by accident. It takes teaching, nurturing and consistent practice. When Thanksgiving rolls around, we’re prone to reflect on the good gifts that God has given us. Below are some considerations of how you can practice showing gratitude with your children and train them to have thankful hearts:
- consistently teach toddlers and preschoolers to say thank you whenever a kindness is done to them.
- when praying together (at meals, bedtimes, etc.), make it a priority to thank God for His kindnesses shown to you that day
- create a poster, visible to everyone, where each member of the family can write down why they are grateful. Make it colorful- even your smallest children will enjoy listing off and drawing things that they are thankful for.
- make it a regular practice to write thank you notes to people who show you a kindness- whether a gift or service. One mom even suggested not allowing kids to play with new toys until the thank you note is written!! (Way to go, Mom!)
- be quick to draw attention to answered prayers and God’s provision. Keep a list in a journal for yourself and/or a visible list or poster for the family to celebrate together.
- praise God in the moment when you- mom or dad- are thankful for God’s activity in your life. Impromptu praises show your kids that God is at work all the time and not just within the walls of a church or at certain times.
- memorize bible verses that talk about giving thanks, such as Psalm 9:1, 1 Thessalonians 5:18, or 1 Chronicles 16:34
- most importantly, regularly express your gratitude to God in front of your kids for God’s work of salvation through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ!
As Mom and Dad exemplify gratitude to their kids and give them opportunities to join in the blessings of a thankful heart, children will rise to the occasion and learn to be grateful, too. November is a great time to purposefully up our thankfulness game and deliberately practice thanksgiving.
What are some ways your family practices gratitude? Please, share your thoughts, ideas and suggestions in the comments below!
This morning started off with a bang. Well, not literally, but close. Our missions team to Mexico boarded our plane only to find out 45 minutes later that our radio transmitter is broken and either needs to be repaired OR we will have to board another plane. Either way, we will most likely miss our connecting flight. We’ll see. 😬
On the upside of things, I have the great privilege of going to Mexico with 14 outstanding individuals- one of which is my daughter, Hannah. The last time she was on an airplane she was 10 months old. And this is her first international experience and missions trip. We are all kinds of excited over here! I have literally dreamed of taking our children on missions trips since before they were born. My various experiences on short term missions trips have had such a profound impact on my life: learning about other cultures, stepping out of my comfort zone to share the Gospel, doing things I would never do at home, deepening relationships with people from our home church as we share a cross cultural experience, worshiping God in a different language, etc. I want my kids to see that God is not an American God. He is active and present throughout the entire world. His Son, Jesus Christ, came to be a savior for ALL people of every nation, language and skin color. I want them to see real need and understand how much we have both been entrusted with and have excess of . I want them to get a glimpse of God’s purpose for their lives- which somehow seems to gain clarity when one is removed from the distractions of our American materialism. I want them to see that this life is not about them- it is about Jesus Christ and living to be useful to Him in whatever vocations or contexts He gives us.
So… if you think about us this week, will you please say a prayer for our team? We have many young people on our team. Pray that:
- this trip would have a profound impact on their lives
- we would have hearts to see the physical and spiritual needs of others and a quickness to serve
- we would bond tightly as a team- laugh, cry and be authentic with one another
- we would be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and respond to His promptings
- we would have safe travels and logistics for our disrupted flights would be worked out
- we would have great personal times in the Word and as a team
- our families with be protected from harm, illness and attack in our absence
Thank you so much for your prayers- they are the greatest blessing to us as a team!! Stay tuned for more updates here through the week.
Today Joe and I, along with a team of 6 others, are heading back to the Toledo District in southern Belize. Last October we had the privilege of meeting and partnering in gospel ministry with Bob and Rhonda Farley, missionaries to Belize for over a decade. This region of Belize is the poorest of all the districts, with only 11 of 52 villages having access to electricity. The average worker in Belize makes less than $400 annually. And though the name of Jesus is familiar to Belizeans, their access to spiritual growth resources is very limited as their is no Bible college or seminary in the country to try pastors.
That’s where our mission comes in.
This week our team will be partnering with the Belize Training Center, which the Farley’s have established near Punta Gorda, to train and disciple pastors and their families. We will bring teaching, encouragement, and counseling in hopes of strengthening and encouraging the faith of our Belizean brothers and sisters in Christ.
Would you like to partner with us???
The thought of traveling overseas to serve others seems daunting to some. But every missionary, short term or long term, needs faithful partners in prayer:
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12
There is a very real spiritual battle going on for the souls of men. We need God to fight for us, in response to the prayers of His people.
If you take this calling to prayer and spreading the gospel seriously, would you please commit to partner with us in prayer?
- For health and safety- pray that God will keep us safe from harm in travel, protection from food borne illness or personal health issues that the team might have. I have a pretty severe cold at the moment.
- For our team to work in unity. Pray that we will communicate well, encourage one other, and bless one another.
- For language barriers- that we will be understood regardless of language and cultural differences. Pray that God will provide skilled translators and that what God wants to say to His children will be communicated clearly.
- For humility- that our hearts will be soft and open to where God’s Spirit is leading us, open to His conviction and His work. Pray that we will not be arrogant or rude, thinking we know it all, but that we will be eager to learn and serve.
- For us to be uncomfortable- that we will step out of our comfort zones to strike up conversations with nationals, make attempts to learn their languages, worship in a new or different way.
- For us to be a blessing- both to the Farley family and all the locals we encounter. Pray that our words will be matched with loving actions that draw others to Christ.
- For our families that we leave behind and entrust to the care of friends and family. Ask God to keep them safe and cover them with His presence. Pray that they would feel included in this process, even if they can’t be physically present with us.
Thank you for joining us in prayer!! What a blessing it is to walk this path with you. I look forward to paying pictures and updates as things ice forward.