There’s hardly a day that passes that I don’t stop and thank the Lord for the gift of my home. You see, I prayed for ten years that the Lord would provide a house that was our own; one that would allow us to serve Him as we served others, where we could hold lots of people, and also a home in which we could build some equity. Now, here we are! It’s such a blessing because we waited what seemed to be a fairly long time. It’s God’s wonderful gift to us, and we are so thankful! I can also say, it was worth the wait!
As parents who want to build thankfulness in their child’s heart, I believe it’s wise to follow our heavenly Father’s example and sometimes let our child wait to receive the thing that they’re desiring. Our society today has the attitude of, “I-must-have-it-now!”. We’re not willing to wait for a hamburger, much less a pair of jeans or a car!
Proverbs 13:19 says, “The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul.”
It’s a greater blessing and causes greater gratitude when we have to wait for something. A child will be more thankful for a toy, the bike or the new outfit if they’ve
- prayed about it – Asked God for His will in this
- saved for it – To help cover the expense
- waited upon it – Because the first two take time!
So, even if you have the means to grant every desire of your child’s, if you want them to learn to be really thankful, apply the principle of Waiting makes you more thankful, and you will be helping your child to develop a grateful heart!
What do you have from the Lord that you had to wait for?
I recently read a story about a man who rescued many people from a freezing lake after their ship had suffered a puncture. He dove in the icy waters again and again, rescuing victim after victim. His heroic efforts cost him his own health, forcing him to use a wheel chair for most of his life after the rescues. Years later, someone asked him what he remembered most about that time. “Not one person thanked me for saving them.”
My jaw dropped when I read that! I would imagine that any person would be so overwhelmed with gratitude that they would tell him how grateful they were! It reminded me of the ten lepers Jesus healed, and that only one returned to give thanks.
It makes me take a look at my own life and wonder if I have gratitude for all God has done for me. As parents, don’t we desire that our children are thankful? We say things to them like,
“Tell the nice man thank you for the sticker.”
“What do you say for the candy?”
“Say thank you to your sister for sharing her toys with you.”
We say these things in hopes that they’ll develop gratitude, but how do we create in them a thankful heart? Let me suggest:
- Model a thankful spirit. Saying things such as, “I’m so thankful for a beautiful day for our picnic!” Or “”I prayed about that and God answered! I’m so thankful He hears me!” Colossians 3:15 As a friend of mine shared yesterday, we should also be thankful for the rainy days, the plans that were changed, or the needs that arise. From a thankful heart we can say, “God knows what is best, and I’m thankful I can trust in Him for this.”
Remind your children of God’s goodness. Remind them that everything we have is from God. James 1:17 – Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above. Remind them to thank the Lord for the food, the new friend, the good friend at church, the money to purchase new jeans, and the birthday gifts because they are all due to His goodness – not anything we did or deserve.
Point them to thank the people God uses to provide and teach them how to tell them thank you.
I recently sent some cake home with a friend at church. The very next service I received a note from each of the school-aged children. They both wrote to tell me how much they enjoyed it and to say thank you!
Don’t let a flippant “thanks” be enough – teach your child to say thank you verbally, but also to write their thanks. The notes I received were great reminders of what a note of thanks should contain:
- A brief but specific description of what was done/given.
- Why the receiver appreciated it.
- Thanks for their kindness.
- If you want to go the extra mile, they could add a verse that describes what the giver did! One of my note writers added a verse to their card, and that was really touching!
Let’s have thankful hearts that our children can emulate. As followers of Jesus, we were saved from far more than icy waters, and we should have thankful spirits that are evident by our words and actions!
With thanks to you for reading today,