May I encourage you to EXPRESS your thankful heart by pulling in each one of your children 1:1 and SPEAKING over them what you are so grateful for in them? I recently said to my teen daughter, “Have I told you lately how much I love you?” and she replied, “Not really.” Meaning she didn’t feel like I had said it lately, but my mind knew I spoke that way often to my children. She was highlighting to me just how much children need to hear words of value, worth, love, and kindness from their parents.
Gather the kids and talk about the things most dear to your heart. Ask them what is one thing they couldn’t live without. Spend time thanking Jesus for giving it to you.
Gather the kids and talk about how incredible our bodies are. We have legs to run, ears to hear, eyes to see, and lungs to breathe. Each part is a gift. Ask them what part of their body they are the most thankful for. Take time to thank God for the way He created our bodies to move and our minds to work. He is so smart!
Cultivate means to: cul·ti·vate verb 1. prepare for crops or gardening. 2. to acquire or develop (a quality, sentiment, or skill). Gratefulness is a SKILL that is taught, learned, and strengthened. Kids are not born with it. It is something that needs to be tilled, plowed, dug, worked, fertilized, mulched, and weeded SO THAT it reaps a harvest of fruit in their lives. Nothing increases the favor and fruit in our lives more than a grateful heart.
Gather the kids and walk through these verses. Make them come alive by explaining them and adding real-life stories and examples. Let His word be written on their hearts.
Psalm 7:17 – “I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.”
Psalm 100:4-5 – “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.”
Psalm 118:29 – “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love endures forever.”
Psalm 9:1 – “I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.”
Colossians 2:7 – “Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”
Colossians 3:15 – “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.”
Colossians 4:2 – “O Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.” Ps. 95:1-3 “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”
James 1:17 – “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”
Philippians 4:6 – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
Psalm 103:1-5 – “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18 – “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Psalm 107:1 – “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!”
Ephesians 5:20 – “Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,”
Psalm 28:7 – “The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him.”
Psalm 69:30 – “I will praise the name of God with song, and shall magnify Him with thanksgiving.”
Psalm 136:1-5 – “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who by understanding made the heavens, for his steadfast love endures forever;”
Hebrews 12:28-29 – “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”
2 Corinthians 9:15 – “Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!”
Revelations 11:17 – “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign.”
Revelation 7:12 – “Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!”
Take a moment and introduce your child to Psalms 100:4-5. Children of this generation understand the language of needing a ‘password’ to enter. I love how we get to write His word on their hearts!
Psalm 100:4-5 (NIV) – “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good, and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”
I woke up with a burden deep in my heart, and as I was making my coffee, I asked Jesus for a strategy to release it. I heard Him say, “Just thank me.” I laughed at the ease of the solution. An hour later, it was time for Ellie to lead family devotions, and she gave us each a piece of paper and a pen. She told us, “For the next ten minutes, I want you to write down anything you can thank Jesus for.” I couldn’t believe my ears. We dove in to create our lists and then, for several minutes, went around in a circle calling out one thing on our list. The atmosphere was thick with love, peace, and joy. My heavy heart had lifted, and they walked out the door for school filled with His presence. Jesus, You indeed are the best, and it is an honor, privilege, and joy to start our day with YOU.
I vividly recall the day I put great effort and energy into making a special dinner for my family. I eagerly called them to the table to reveal my effort. I got less-than-sweet comments from each of the children, and they just got up and went off to play. I sat there with a huge mess to clean up and felt somewhat offended. I wanted to go on a cooking strike, vowing never to feed them again, but I realized that wasn’t a good option. I pictured them doing that in someone else’s home, and I didn’t like the thought. I knew I had to figure out a way to TEACH them what honor and gratefulness looked like in that situation. The following morning, they came to the table and I had them draw me a picture. Before they finished, I picked up and said, “Ick. I don’t like purple.” To another one, I said, “Gross. This is nasty”, and another I said, “I hate this.” They were mortified and in complete shock. I asked them how it made them feel. Awful! I explained that when someone makes a meal, it is like their artwork made with love for them. I never forced my kids to eat anything, but I set the bar for them to be grateful, gracious, and kind. After every meal, they are required to thank the person who made the meal and ask to be excused. I am not their maid, slave, or chef; I am their mother worthy of honor and respect.