The Thanksgiving holiday is a good time to reflect, not just about the things we are thankful for, but as parents and grandparents, about how to help our children and grandchildren to have thankful hearts.
When children learn to be thankful, that thankfulness chips away at their natural self-centeredness and selfishness. By its nature, thanksgiving encourages an awareness of what we've been given already, and puts our wants into perspective.
And awareness of our own blessings allows us to consider how we might share those blessings with others. We become more other-centered, more generous.
When we make thanksgiving a part of our everyday lives, it doesn't just mean responding joyfully to good things. It also means we reframe those not-so-good daily events so we can see what's good in them.
How can we do this?
Be aware of Who it is you are thanking, and His presence in your life.
Thanksgiving means a shift of perspective. What is good in your life, in this particular situation?
How can you express your thanks? Prayer? A different attitude? Verbal recognition that something is a gift in your life?
As we practice these things ourselves, we encourage others around us to recognize the gifts in their own lives.
Beyond that, we can gently help our children and grandchildren realize it is God who has blessed their lives, and that thanksgiving is a good response to those blessings.
We may not choose our circumstances, but we have choices about how we respond to them. When we look for whatever good there might be and respond to that good with thanksgiving, we model a grateful heart for our children and grandchildren.
What are you thankful for?