October is here, and November is quickly approaching. In November, we celebrate Thanksgiving and focus on being grateful for all our blessings. Although we should be grateful year-round, it is an excellent time of year for families to focus and reflect on the meaning of gratefulness. Here are seven ways to help your family include gratefulness in their daily lives.
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Simply Ways to Show Gratefulness Each Day
Gratitude and gratefulness are things we can and should incorporate into our daily lives without much effort or thought. There are so many things you can do or implement in your daily life that can make the idea of gratefulness second-nature – not something you have to “think” about doing.
- I’m Grateful For: We are all busy, but to help keep the focus on gratefulness in our daily lives we must be intentional about practicing gratefulness. How about picking a space where you can hang a chalkboard and write what you are grateful for each day? This can spark great family conversation and sharing of stories.
- Write a Thank-You Note: A personal, handwritten note is becoming a lost art form. Don’t you remember how special it was when you received any kind of note in the mail? Choose a person who has had an impact on your life and let them know how much they mean to you. It can be a family member, friend, or even a school teacher. I wrote my fourth-grade schoolteacher a letter thanking her for reading to us every day after recess. It is because of her that I became such an avid reader. She read the entire series “Little House on the Prairie” by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and it impacted my life forever.
- Do a Service Project Together: One of the most valuable lessons we can teach our children is the importance of doing things for others. Find a project you would like to do together and help others in need. Whether it is serving at your local homeless shelter, raking leaves for an elderly neighbor, baking cookies for your local fire department, or volunteering at the local humane shelter, all of these ideas will demonstrate your gratefulness and inspire gratefulness in others.
- Adopt a Family: The holiday season can be challenging for many people as they struggle with various things. One thing we all know is when there is a holiday; it is hard to celebrate when you don’t have the means. Think of a family who has gone through a hard time and begin picking up the items now they will need to have for their Thanksgiving dinner. We all need help from time to time, and we never know when it could be us needing help. Let’s be grateful we can give to those in need.
- Make a “No Complaint Zone” Sometimes, we need to create space to remind us of what we have to be grateful for every day. It is easy to complain about something we don’t like, but how wonderful is it to have a space that is filled with encouragement and inspiration. This idea can work well at the dinner table or for the lunch or break room at work or school. I’m a firm believer that positivity breeds positivity!
- Say “Thank You” for the Little Things: There are things people do for us every day that we often take for granted. Make sure you acknowledge the little things that make your life easier. My husband always fills my gas tank for me because he knows I hate filling it, but I try always to say “Thank you” when I know he has done it because that means there is one less thing I have to think about doing. Maybe it is telling your children “Thank you” for being good listeners. During a big snowstorm last year, our neighbor shoveled snow for us so we could get our car out, and we were very thankful! Encouragement with words goes a long way!
Make Gratitude a Lifestyle Not a Season
Make gratitude a lifestyle, not just a season. Every day we have something to be grateful for, from the time we wake up until we go to bed. Yes, there are some days when you don’t feel very appreciative, but it doesn’t mean there isn’t something to be grateful about.
God has blessed each of us in many ways, and if we take the time to stop and acknowledge those ways, we will come up with a long list. What are some ways you incorporate gratefulness into your lifestyle? What has been one thing you have been grateful for in the last week?
God’s word is full of teaching about the importance of being grateful in response to God’s generosity. Here is one of my favorite passages. I love how The Message breaks this down for more fundamental understanding. God’s goodness to us never runs dry and is always extravagant, never leaving us wanting for anything but more of Him.
And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written:
“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;
their righteousness endures forever.”
Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” 2 Corinthians 9:8-11 NIV
Gratefulness is contentment with what you have and a heart that is willing to share what God has given you. Can you imagine how much better our world would be if gratefulness were the priority over selfishness? When we live in gratefulness for what God has done, it has the power to change the world. This concept is why it is so crucial for our families to include gratefulness in our daily lives.
Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.” Colossians 3:15-17 MSG
I have listed seven ways to help your family include gratefulness in their daily lives. What ways can you think of to help your family become more aware of being grateful every day?
I pray this year you don’t make gratefulness just a season, but a lifestyle that will enrich your life and the lives of all those around you. People of all ages learn by what they see, and the best lesson learned is by seeing our gratefulness in action.