Raising Thankful Children

I came across this quote and was taken aback by how simple yet forthright and impactful it was.  Saying “thank you” is such an important part of our relationship with God, our Father, yet how often do we truly do it during our busy days?  How are we teaching our children to be thankful for all that He has given us?  1 Thessalonians 5:18 states “Give thanks in every circumstance for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

It’s the day after Christmas and I’m certain that we all had a lot of gifts to open and indulge in as well as scrumptious meals to enjoy.  We should be thankful for all that He has given us, not just for these physical, worldly gifts, but most importantly, for the intangible ones - our lives, our health, our family, etc., etc.  I could go on and on naming what we can be thankful for each and every second of each and every day.  

Whether we like it or not, we are role models for our children.  If we are not verbally expressing our thanks and showing thankfulness through our actions, the likelihood is that our children will not either.  To raise thankful children, we must first be thankful as parents.  Try expressing thanks out loud each day as part of the family routine, such as when you are driving them to school.  Make it fun and playful.  Point out how they can thank each other for simple acts of kindness.  As a parent, you can thank your children for things that they do, and they should be thanking you as well.  Nurture a thankful spirit within your children and they will be kinder and more loving to you and others. 

When Planning What Gifts to Buy Your Children This Christmas, Remember This: Your Presence is More Important

As parents, we often spend much of our time planning what presents to buy our children, particularly as Christmas approaches.  Another video game? Another DVD? Music lessons?  Dance lessons?  The newest fad watch?  The list can be endless.  For this holiday season, stop and think about the fact that your children would much rather have time with you than with a gift.

Consider instead planning an activity that will become a family tradition.  Your children will have life long memories of all the fun they had with the family rather than the gift.  Such family traditions can include having the entire extended family over for a meal; or volunteering time together to help the less fortunate; or attending church together.

What about planning a family trip together?  You can select a different location each year.  One Christmas, my sisters and I planned a family trip to a popular theme park.  We rented a large home and our parents and all our siblings and their spouses and children came.  We had such a wonderful time and made enduring memories.  

Also be sure to include some relaxed time.  What about simply going outside and looking at the stars?  Or trying a new recipe for a special desert? Or playing fun games with them?  When was the last time that you were the horse and they rode on your back?

Spending time with your children requires planning.  But, these plans will be the most important and life changing plans you can make. 


The Greatest Christmas Gift of All Time

As we are busy making our plans and buying gifts for our friends and loved ones for Christmas, let us not lose focus about why we celebrate Christmas in the first place.   As Christians, we believe that Jesus was the greatest gift ever given to mankind.  God gave us His only son Jesus so that we could have eternal life.  Why did God do this for us?  John 3:16 gives us the answer: because of His immense love for us.  

The true meaning of Christmas is found in its name: “Christ”, who is Jesus and “mas” which is a celebration.  Christmas is an extremely special day for us.  I encourage you to spend time worshiping Jesus and thanking Him for all that He has done for you and your loved ones.   From my family to yours - have a blessed and peaceful Christmas!

Author Soraya Diase Coffelt

Creative Ways to Help Your Children Become More Thankful and Encourage Reading at the Same Time

Image from www.courageforkids.com

Image from www.courageforkids.com

    I write often about the importance of literacy.  Since this month is November - the month of Thanksgiving Day - I want to merge the concepts of being thankful with reading.  How can we help our children become more thankful and encourage reading at the same time?

    As a Christian, I always turn first to the Bible for guidance.  With so many research tools available online as well as electronic Bibles, it is relatively easy to search for verses with the words “thanks” and “thankful” in the Bible.  There are many.  Encourage your children to read some of these verses and write them down.  One of my favorite verses is Psalm 188:1 - “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” 

    Another idea is to have your children write on sticky notes once a day what they are thankful for and create an area in your home where they can put up these sticky notes as reminders.   Examples are “I’m thankful for my dog” and “I’m thankful for a sunny day to play outside” and “I’m thankful for food to eat today”.  Encourage your children to read them every day.  

    Also, help your children write “thank you” notes for gifts or for any occasion when such a note can be used.  I recently received in the mail a “thank you” card from one of my teenage nieces thanking me for a birthday gift I sent to her.  It was very special to me because it showed me that she took the time to think about thanking me and about what to write to me and then she took the time to actually write it out to me.  That one little handwritten note showed me that she cared for me and wanted to let me know how much she cared.  

    The list of ideas is endless.  Begin incorporating some in your day to day activities. 

Author Soraya Diase Coffelt