Thursday, November 24, 2011

Cultivating a Thankful Heart 101

     "Now that you've had a chance to sit here and think about why Mama put you in your room, can you tell me about it?" I asked my son quietly, hoping this wouldn't be a challenge with him.
     “I'm in my room because I wouldn't take the cup from Tori.”
Wanting him to dig a little deeper into this lesson, I prodded for more answers.
     “I'm in my room because I didn't show thankfulness to Tori for bringing me water."
TOUCH DOWN! Whew, for a few minutes there, I was really sure this would be another lesson of frustration for us all.
     “Yes you are, that's the reason; whether or not you wanted the water, Tori brought you water because she loves you and wanted to show kindness to you. Yelling at her and slapping the cup away was rude. It hurt her feelings. God wants us to be thankful and kind to our family."
     Cultivating a thankful heart is another one of those 'caught' lessons that is often times difficult to teach our kids. Nipping selfishness in the bud and creating thankfulness with my son has been the biggest challenge this year. Frustrated with this lesson that didn't seem to be resonating with my son, I realized it’s one of those lessons which must be presented to him on a daily basis--and it begins with me!
     What am I doing to create a thankful heart in my children? As I thought about it, I became more aware of my words and actions one afternoon. I realized that all I did in front of my kids was complain when something wasn't going my way and even it things were, I  showing my grateful heart. So what's a mama to do?
      I set to work on showing my thankful heart to my seemingly ungrateful ankle biters. We began each day with a thankful prayer on the way to school. Throughout the day, I would catch my son doing little things like picking up his blocks, playing with his toys, getting his own drink of water; I would jump on these little moments to tell him how thankful I was of his actions. Sometimes I would tackle him with bear hugs just to tell him I was so thankful he was my son.
      In the evenings at supper, we began our meals with 'thankfuls'; each person would state one thing they were thankful for that day. As the months wore on, I began to see the fruits or our efforts in creating gratefulness in our children. I’m so thankful this Thanksgiving season that my children have grateful hearts. They’re grateful for smallest of things, black socks, bath bubbles, hair ties, our dog, Daddy’s smile and so much more. How is it I’ve managed to have forgotten how to be grateful in these little things too? Sometimes teaching our kids lessons, we end up re-teaching our own hearts. 

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