Instructing children to be thankful seems counterintuitive. We want thankfulness to spring forth spontaneously from a thankful heart. That’s my goal.
I know I can improve in teaching my children to be thankful. I need to do better at helping them write and send thank you cards (i have a bad habit of helping them make/ write them, but forgetting to send them until long after the occasion). I know that I should spend some time deliberately teaching them biblical principles of thankfulness.
Here’s a start. Our children opened presents from their grandparents last night. Each child needed to be prompted to say thank you after each opened a gift (on Thanksgiving even!). I felt a little bit of dismay, knowing that other people’s children always express thankfulness (I’m quite certain), and knowing that this day was Thanksgiving, of all days to be forgetful.
I am wondering whether it might be better to discuss thankfulness with them before the next gift giving event, instead of after. The advantage is that I’m pretty certain my children will remember to say thank you after opening a present, in this case. The disadvantage is that I’m not waiting to see if they’ll say thank you spontaneously (it does happen).
Perhaps we’ll spend time talking about thankfulness this next month.