If you have children, you want them to be thankful and not take the blessings of this life for granted. One mom writes and asks how to help her children be thankful this Thanksgiving season. Try these two family activities,
Q: This holiday season my husband and I want to focus on things we are thankful for but it seems our children just take everything for granted. They are so focused on getting what they want based on what they see on TV and in the stores. We would like to change that and take their attention away from material things and put it on to more important things. Any suggestions?
A: First of all, I applaud you for being aware of this issue. You are talking about creating a thankful heart or an attitude of gratitude in a child. This is something you must teach in our culture as media promotes getting rather than giving. Consider the ads you see and hear. Many of them begin with the phrase, “You deserve…” This promulgates an attitude of entitlement. Kids are taught to want more, rather than be content with what they have. Thus, parents have to constantly go against these messages, teaching as scripture admonishes to be content with much or little.
Fortunately, you have the Thanksgiving season to jump start your quest to be more thankful. Here is an idea for your family. Make a gratitude box out of an old shoe box. Decorate the box with the kids and cut a slit in the top. Every day from now until Thanksgiving, have each person in the family write down something he/she is thankful for and put it in the box. At your Thanksgiving celebration, read the notes out loud. After Thanksgiving, you can change the box decorations for each season or holiday and continue the activity once a week instead of daily. An activity like this will intentionally foster gratitude.
Another idea is this: When you say your prayers at night, have each person in the family go around the circle and say something that they are thankful for that day. Your children may initial choose material things but will gradually focus on things of eternal value as you and your husband model those responses.
Feel free to post your ideas as to how to help our children be more thankful.