Thankful Hearts

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The best years in our lives are, by design, the years we are blessed to have children of our own, under our roof, around our dining room table, and sleeping in bedrooms that we have nightly conversational access to! In good times and even difficult times, precious few life experiences can compare to the joy of hearing a tiny voice affectionately utter the words “mommy” or “daddy!” My grown kids still call me “daddy.” I wouldn’t trade that word for the world!

When worry and fear enter a home through politics, finances, personal failures, broken relationships, electronics, media, grades, sickness, etc., as parents, it’s easy to see how the sheer joy of the “there’s no place like home” can be stolen during these all-to-brief years of being a parent. The great antidote for worry and fear is developing a thankful heart. Thankfulness has been both biblically ordained and psychologically proven to be the key to a happy heart and the “tie that binds” relationships at home with bows of pleasure and ribbons of fulfillment.

That is why I like the month of November and the great American tradition that dates back to October 1621, when the courageous Pilgrims first celebrated their harvest from the newly founded American soil.

November is here, friends, which means Thanksgiving—big get-togethers with family and friends, and big meals built around roasted turkey. I think, last count, we will have 16-18 coming to celebrate around our family table. I can’t wait! I understand for many families this year, Covid-19 has caused our celebrations to look different than ever before. With Covid and politics in our face this month, it’s more important than ever that we take time to be thankful. Scripture, as always, lays out the mandate for a mindset that can reduce the angst that perhaps is tampering with your own heart, or is hindering a relationship in your home today.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication WITH THANKSGIVING let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

So my suggestion, moms and dads, is that sometime this week, you sit down with each of your children and make a list of the things he or she is thankful for. If you write them down, it will work even better!

Then, every night at bedtime, pick one thing from the list, and make a point of praying about it with your child that night. In other words, reinforce the idea of expressing gratitude to God every day, all month long. (Hopefully it will become a 24-7-365 lifestyle!)

Here’s another idea: If some of the “things” on the thanksgiving list are actually people—loving grandparents, a good teacher, a close friend—help your child to write a note to one of them expressing gratitude to that person and the reasons for it. Do this once or twice a week until all the people on the list have received notes. Those dear folks will be greatly blessed, and your kids will also feel good about giving “attaboys” to the people they appreciate..

Many families have a tradition of saying things they are thankful for at Thanksgiving dinner, and that’s terrific. But I can’t help but imagine, as I pray for you while you’re reading this letter, what could happen inside your family if these daily habits begin in this month of Thanksgiving and continue onto the next day and the next…

“I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonders.” Psalm 9:1

Together for your kids,

Joe White

 

KEYWORDS: Behavior, Spiritual Identity, Purity, Relationships, Family,