Gratitude is on everyone’s mind this time of year. Isn’t it a shame that the thoughts that are so strong and prevalent during November and December don’t stay as strong and prevalent the rest of the year?!
I have to admit, when I was younger, I never really realized just how beautiful a gracious and thankful heart is. I remember one Tuesday morning I was having lunch (pizza!) with the pastor of our church, his adorable wife, and a few of our friends. Somehow the subject turned to being thankful and expressing gratitude. Southern preachers do many things with great passion and eating is certainly amongst them, but between bites, our pastor said, “A Gracious heart is a beautiful thing.”
I remember this so clearly because:
- It was BY FAR the shortest sermon he ever preached.
- It made me realize that, indeed, a gracious heart is a beautiful thing.
My three daughters, with their lives, preach the same sermon this wonderful man did over pizza. My daughters are so incredibly gracious and thankful that it never ceases to leave an impression on me and I always think of the “Mini Pizza Sermon.” Graciousness is beautiful. They express the same gratitude whether I fix them a mug of hot chocolate as they would if I bought them a purse that costs way more than any purse has a right to cost (seriously, what’s up with purses?).
When I read the article below, the tip, “Model the behavior” jumped out at me. I believe that, over the years, my girls saw that my husband (“Daddy” to them!) and I simply don’t take anything for granted. We are always genuinely thankful for anything we have as well as for anything anyone does for us. I think that, more than anything, this helped them to become so beautifully gracious.
I notice graciousness in others and always realize that it speaks absolute volumes about an individual.
Below is a timely article that’s being shared with Self Help Daily’s readers. It’s written by Robert Nickell (a.k.a. Daddy Nickell) and offers fantastic tips on helping your kids find ways to give thanks. More importantly, it tells how you can help your kids to be more thankful. ~ Joi
Creative Ways Your Family Can Express Thankfulness on Thanksgiving and Beyond
by Daddy Nickell
Thanksgiving is almost here, and parents everywhere are wondering how they can teach their kids how to express thankfulness on the holiday and beyond. Rather than just going around the table and saying a quick list of things they are grateful for, moms and dads want creative and unique “I’m Thankful For…” ideas that will get the kiddos in the spirit of giving thanks!
Creative ways to express thankfulness on Thanksgiving:
- Thankfulness jar: Put out a decorative jar with a notepad and pen. Have family members write down things they are thankful for and read the notes at Thanksgiving dinner.
- Thankful turkeys: Do the old-fashioned hand turkey or be more elaborate, but have children write something they are thankful for on each of the turkey’s feathers. Use them as place cards or decorations.
- Alphabet list: Go around the table and have everyone say something they are thankful for. Be creative and use the alphabet to keep things going (each person has to say something they are thankful for that starts with the next letter in the alphabet.
- Dry-erase board display: Have a dry-erase board on prominent display where people can write what they are thankful for.
- Thankful songs: Choose a popular tune, such as “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” and have each child sing a song starting with the words “I am thankful for…” This will get your kids’ creativity going and is sure to bring joy and many laughs!
Ways to teach your kids how to always give thanks:
- Model the behavior. Say “thank you’s” yourself. Remember to thank your children when they make their beds or clean up their messes. Tell them they make you happy when they follow the rules and bring you joy when they sing and dance. Demonstrate thankfulness in your own life.
- Make them wait (or work) for it. When kids get everything they ask for the minute they ask for it, they don’t appreciate it. If you make them wait a couple of days or until their next birthday, they will be incredibly grateful for the gifts when they receive them. Children also appreciate things more when they have contributed work or money towards them.
- Work thankfulness into your daily conversation. Talk to your kids about how blessed you are to live where you do and remind them how special and important they are to you. Helping a child appreciate what they already have will help them be thankful for their life.
- Volunteer. Whether it’s bringing cookies to a neighbor lady, or filling food bags at a homeless shelter, your children will benefit from seeing the joy they can bring to those less fortunate than themselves.
- Write thank you notes. Somewhat old-fashioned and definitely on the out, thank you notes require the children to think about each person and why they appreciate them and the gift they gave. It takes time, and every kid loves receiving mail.
- Reward thankfulness. Recognize your child when they remember to say “thank you,” especially to a stranger. Tell them how proud or impressed you are with their behavior.
Daddy Nickell’s tips will help all parents teach their kids to be thankful on Thanksgiving and beyond! Use them to ensure that your kids make giving thanks a part of their daily life.
Author: Robert Nickell (a.k.a. Daddy Nickell), father of 7, offers his “5 cents” worth of advice to expectant and new parents. Daddy Nickell is the founder of DaddyScrubs.com, delivery room duds, gifts, and apparel for dads, and the Daddyscrubs.com blog, where he covers topics about parenting and the latest baby and kids gear, all from a Dad’s perspective.
About Daddy Nickell
For his blog, Nickell writes from a father’s perspective on topics such as bonding with your child and what the father should expect during pregnancy and infancy. Daddy Nickell also contributes his parenting expertise to national talk shows and daytime television shows. He has been featured on “Good Morning L.A.,” “Good Morning Texas,” “Daytime TV” ABC15 Phoenix, MSNBC, WZZM 13, San Antonio Living, KSBI TV, and as a syndicated columnist for national newspapers, parenting magazines and websites including Baby Couture Magazine, Oh Baby! Magazine, City Parent Magazine, The Bump, Parenthood, and Homeschooling Parent.
You can also see DaddyScrubs on YouTube, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter (@DaddyScrubs) and Pinterest!