Teaching Thankfulness


On this Thanksgiving Day 2013, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to teach my kids to be more thankful—maybe you have as well.

In our materialistic, consumer-oriented culture, we face a real challenge in teaching our kids to be grateful.  Much of what they see in the media sends the message that they are entitled to everything they want—and now!  American kids have also come to believe they should always get the biggest and the best.

So how do we cultivate character traits such as thankfulness, generosity and self-sacrifice?  In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, the Bible tells us to “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

One of the most effective ways to combat the cultural mind-set is by modeling a grateful attitude ourselves. Verbally thank God on a regular basis, even for simple things like a roof over your head and food.

Also, do your best to model gratitude in your other relationships; with friends, relatives and co-workers—and not only when they do something special for you.

Let others know how much you appreciate them simply for who they are. Express that kind of unconditional gratitude to your spouse and children as well.

As we approach Christmas, help your kids learn to be generous by serving others who are less fortunate. Christmastime is ideal for service projects.

Your family might volunteer to serve Christmas dinner at a local rescue mission or visit residents at a nursing home, singing carols and delivering Christmas cookies.

For more ideas to cultivate gratitude in your kids, check out the book Growing Grateful Kids by my friend Susie Larson.

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Shine.FM.


If you have a question for me about family issues or Christian living, click the “Questions” link on the Family Expert page.

Listen to today’s audio here.