Teaching entitlement comes without any effort. Children in our culture automatically feel entitled to a mobile phone.
Teaching gratitude takes effort but it’s a very worthwhile endeavor.
Start with gratitude for everyday things like dinner. A negative statement about an item of dinner should be off limits. Make a negative statement and you are doing the dishes.
Every family member should be required to thank mom for making the dinner.
“Thanks for dinner tonight Mom” is a statement that acknowledges that someone, namely mom, went to the effort to get dinner on the table.
This gratitude campaign is best begun and enforced by dad. But it can be handled by anyone, even mom.
Remember, it’s not really for mom, it’s to teach gratitude. Important? Gratitude just might be the attitude that gets your child’s marriage through a difficult season. Teach it now and it will serve them later.
As I walked toward the front door of our office I saw a pickup truck parked out front and a man carrying in boxes of groceries for our single moms’ ministry. Walking by I grabbed a box to help him.
All of a sudden I realized I wasn’t alone. Tyler, a twelve-year-old, was behind me carrying a box as well. He was at our office that day because he had a day off from school and had come to work with his mom.
When I turned around to go get another box, Tyler beat me to the truck and never stopped until the truck was empty. When we finished he vanished into the building to find his mom. I had to track him down to thank him.
“No problem,” this twelve-year-old responded, “glad to help.”
This is a mom who has taught her child to go the extra mile. Doing the extra, like not walking by an abandoned shopping cart in the grocery store parking lot. But instead go out of the way to help by pushing the cart inside since he’s going that way anyway. Doing extra like that! Things you don’t have to do… but you do them anyway.
This is also a mom who is raising an employable child. I want that kid on my staff when he grows up. He’s been trained to “get it”. He has been trained to go the extra mile.
Thanksgiving has one of the most Amazing God stories. Years before the Pilgrims left England for America a slave ship cruising the coast of America captured several Native Americans. These captives were brought back to England where they were taught English so they could be questioned about the extent of the Indian tribes and the terrain in the new world.
Later one of these Native Americans, Squanto, earned his release and returned to his tribal area in New England. Tragically, he was captured again, brought back to Europe and was purchased by Portuguese Monks. They lead him to Christ and once again Squanto gained the opportunity to return to the Massachusetts shore.
What appeared to be one tragic event after another actually turned out to be used by God to fulfill His plans for the Pilgrims and Squanto. It was this English speaking Christian Native American that was the one to rescue the Pilgrims that first winter. He ended up being a missionary to them.
Thanksgiving illustrates that God does cause all things to work together for good (Romans 8:28).
In a society of individuals that constantly want more, isn’t it important for parents to teach our children the concept of gratitude? If a child doesn’t grow up in a home that teaches gratitude for what it has, this child will be at the mercy of every marketer he or she encounters.
Thanksgiving shouldn’t just be a title for a holiday. Thanksgiving should be an action instigated by a Holy Day. This Thanksgiving do it! Give thanks! Get your kids focused on the location of the thanks.
The Pilgrims didn’t lose their jobs they lost their family members. Yet they had the sense to stop and give thanks to God for the fact that He was still in control and He alone could one day make sense of all they were dealing with (Romans 8:28).
Use this Thanksgiving to teach the giving of thanks. Begin the process of teaching gratitude.
This year’s Thanksgiving just might be the most important day of the year. It’s a day to teach our children gratitude.
The original Thanksgiving came at a time when the Pilgrims had just completed the worst year of their lives. One-hundred-two People landed at Plymouth and almost half died that first year and yet they chose to do something different than you would expect. The leadership of this little band of people chose to get their families focused on what they had rather than what they had lost.
A couple days before Thanksgiving get a large poster board and tape it to the refrigerator. Write on top: Things I’m Thankful For. Then be the first to write down something you are thankful for and then your initials. Encourage everyone to put something down and take a moment at your Thanksgiving table to read the entries on the board.
In this economy it’s very important to get the kids focused on what they have rather than what they want. There’s no mistaking the fact that God put Thanksgiving on the calendar one month before Christmas.