Gratitude is our response of thankfulness for God’s goodness, love, provision, and grace.
As Christ-followers, we don’t just practice gratitude because it’s good for our health (although it is!), or only when things go smoothly. Our gratitude flows from an awareness that, regardless of our circumstance, God loves us and is with us. Here are five tips for cultivating grateful living with your family.
1. EXPRESS YOURSELF
Express your gratefulness to God and to others (including your kids!) out loud and often. They’re taking their cues from you, and the best way to cultivate a grateful spirit in your kids is to cultivate it in yourself too.
2. PROVIDE PROMPTS
At mealtime, at bedtime prayers, and at other times, invite everyone to name a person/place/thing/experience for which they are grateful, or to name something they can hear/see/taste/touch/smell for which they are grateful.
3. TAKE NOTE OF GOD’S GIFTS
Keep track of God’s good gifts using a format that works for your family. Some ideas: keep a family gratitude journal; jot your thoughts on sticky notes and post them on a Gratitude Wall; express your thankfulness on paper strips placed in a Gratitude Jar; write or draw things for which you are grateful on a paper tablecloth. Save your lists and drawings and revisit them at Thanksgiving, on New Year’s Day, or anytime you’d like a reminder of God’s provisions.
4. REMEMBER GOD’S GOODNESS
During challenging circumstances, remind your kids that God is with them. Wonder about the ways in which God may be at work behind the scenes. Express gratitude for the fact that even though we may not fully understand God’s plan, we can trust that God works for good in all situations and that our destiny is safe in his hands.
5. LIVE GRATEFULLY
Your practices should overflow into your community. Be generous with your time, talents, and resources. Show appreciation to others in tangible ways. Be a servant. And always try to treat others in ways for which they can be grateful and give thanks to God!