Instilling Thankfulness in Our Children

Our kids today have access to a lot of luxuries. We send them to schools equipped with textbooks and tablets. We fill their bedrooms with toys and crafts and novels designed to entertain and educate. We take them shopping when they outgrow their jeans and snow boots, we feed them three meals a day, we treat them to ice cream and movies and trips to the trampoline park.


Compared to many other populations in the world, our children are abundantly loved and provided for. But do they realize it?


The risk of giving our children everything they need and much of what they want is that they could come to view this provision as their right rather than a privilege. As parents we can and should help our kids develop a heart of gratitude for their blessings, material and otherwise. Here are some ways to do just that.


Give to others. Grateful people are generous people. When we appreciate all we have, we’re more likely to pay it forward as a way of thanking God for our blessings. Cultivate this type of grateful giving in your family by participating in a charity campaign that’s meaningful to you, such as Operation Christmas Child, Toys for Tots, World Vision and so on. Or give your time volunteering to help an elderly neighbor with yard work or watching a single mom’s children for an afternoon. Opportunities to give to others are bountiful not just this time of year but all year round.


Go without. Sometimes the best way to appreciate what we have is to experience life without it. Spend a weekend without phones, computers or television. Challenge the kids to give up their toys for a week. Purge your closets and give gently used clothes and other belongings to others in need. If you dare, choose one night a week to turn off the electricity and live by candlelight like in the “olden” days. By sacrificing the comforts we take for granted, we can develop a new appreciation for them—and for the God who gave them to us.


Say thank you. We teach our kids to say please, thank you, excuse me and you’re welcome. But gratitude goes far beyond good manners. A simple “thank you” can validate another person—especially the ones we love best. Why not say “thanks” to your husband for mowing the lawn? Thank your children for obeying your instructions to put on their shoes. Thank your family for playing a board game together on a Friday night. Tell them you value your time together. Speak gratitude to the people around you, and you will foster a heart of gratitude in their own lives as well.


Count your blessings. This month, in preparation for Thanksgiving, create a thankful tree and encourage the whole family to get involved. Create a tree trunk and branches from brown paper, then cut several leaf shapes out of colored paper. On each leaf, write something you’re thankful for. Tape the leaves to the tree and display your creation in a central area of the house where all family members can see it. Continue adding more leaves as you think of more and more blessings. Make this an annual celebration of thankfulness in your home!


From all of us at Faithgirlz, we wish you a Thanksgiving season filled with gratitude!

An Attitude of Gratitude


[God said,] What I want from you is your true thanks;

I want your promises fulfilled.

I want you to trust me in your times of trouble,

so I can rescue you and you and you can give me glory.

– Psalm 50:14 TLB 

  AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE                                        

         Whatever the circumstances, no matter what, we should always remember to have “Thank you, God” on our minds. After all, the Lord has given us our life, parents, our BFFs, pets, nature, health. We can see, hear, speak, smell, taste, and feel. (We could go on forever, but you get the picture.) Let’s just say, (and the Bible has) that “Every good gift and every perfect present comes from heaven.” (James 1:17 ). What’s more, on top of it all, God has given us the perfect gift: his Son.

Jesus continually thanked his Father for everything. That tells us how important an attitude of gratitude must be.

On the hill, in front of a hungry crowd he would feed with a few loaves and fish… “Jesus took the bread, gave thanks to God, and distributed it to the people who were sitting there.” (John 6:11).

Before he raised Lazarus from the dead, Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I’m grateful that you have listened to me.” (John 11:41 MSG).

Even at the last supper, when his thoughts must have been filled with the terror of what was to come, Jesus “gave thanks,” before he ate and drank with his disciples.” (Mark: 14: 22, 23)

Okay, but if we get a “F” on our finals, don’t make the cheerleading team, or our parents divorce, though, we certainly can’t think Gee, thanks, God for that.

Oh, but we can, and we should! The Bible says “give thanks in all circumstances,” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) and that’s a good habit to form for some very good reasons:

It shows God we trust him—not just when things are going our way—but when the bad stuff comes along too. It proves we believe he’s a loving Father who has a plan for us, and though we might not understand what it’s all about, he does. It shows him we have faith that everything he sends, will, in the long run, be to our benefit.

See, what we’re trying to do is to get to the point where we’re thinking Thank You, God, not…. Oh my God….automatically, even when we can’t imagine what good can possibly come of a situation.

The Bible says, “all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into his plans.” (Romans 8:28 TLB)

And we just have one thing to say about that: “Thank You, God.”

P.S. Jesus healed ten lepers. But only one returned to thank him. When God does something spectacular in your life, do you say thank you?

From WHATEVER IS LOVELY: a 90-day Devotional Journal, from the FaithGirlz collection, written by Allia Zobel Nolan, and available December 9 @ e Zobel Nolan is the author of close to 200 titles. She writes mainly about God and cats. Visit her @






The Guaranteed Cure for a Discontented Heart

The guaranteed cure for a discontented heart

It’s so easy to spot in our kids… entitlement, discontent, the constant longing for more.

One purchase at the store elicits, “Oh man, I wish I could have bought both things!”

One hour of tv is a surefire recipe for “What? That’s all?”

But dissatisfaction is no respecter of age. And we moms are just as susceptible to all forms of greed as our children.

The irony of the upcoming holidays is that we profess joy while scouring sales or envying another’s “perfect life,” always looking for the next thing to make us happy.

It doesn’t take much introspection to dismay ourselves. Could we really be this shallow? We conceal it more skillfully than our children, but our hearts tell us it’s true. Yes, we love Jesus. But couldn’t we have just this one other thing too?

It’s a poison, this discontent. None of us are immune, and there’s only one antidote.

A pure, sweet water, served from the simplest of cups, that promises to quench our thirst if we could just dare to believe it’s better than all the other exciting “drinks” with their gimmicky names and umbrellas and whipped creams and drizzles.


A refreshing realization that our cup is full.

That God pursued us with His goodness. That the Creator humbled Himself for us. That He loved us. Claimed us. Redeemed us from Satan and sin’s grasp.

A remembrance that through Christ, we are free.

Free from the love of money. Free from slavery to the flesh. Free to live and love with abandon. Free to dream God’s dreams instead of our own and to serve with humility, because we know that our Father sees what is done in secret and will reward openly for eternity.

Gratitude that God is Emmanuel, with us. That He’ll never leave or forsake us.

Gratitude that He sees the sparrow and lilies and us and all our needs. Gratitude that He is the God who provides.

This antidote is life-giving, energizing, transforming, and must be taken daily. Hourly. Moment-by-moment. And while results may vary, the greatest successes come to those who drink most deeply.

It’s not just a day. It’s not just a catchphrase. Thanks-giving changes the very course of our lives.

Instead of wearing ourselves out for more, for better, for cuter, for skinnier, for more successful, we can finally see what is and truly live.

We see that the gifts we’ve been given are precious. That they aren’t meant to be compared to the gifts He gave others, for they are perfect and meant for us right here and right now.

When we stop chasing what we don’t have and slow down long enough to see what is; when we take the time to really see, it won’t actually be so hard to feel it. To let go of the striving and find peace, joy, hope.

Gratitude. Remembering that He who owes us nothing has given us everything.

An antidote we’ll want to share with everyone around us in the season ahead. (Especially those sweet kiddos!)


by Jennifer Ebenhack




Go to Top