Do you use this prompter?!
I know those of us with older children remember it: We’ve given, or someone else has given, our child something – a treat, a gift, a special activity. And we wait… hoping to hear those two words – “Thank you”. We hope he’s going to say it because it’s in him, because he’s learned what mommy’s been teaching forEVER (it seems), and maybe because he feels it – gratitude.
We’ve taught our children 3 categories of gratitude: thanking us, thanking others, and thanking God. As our little ones got older, I wanted them to be grateful for whatever they receive, but most importantly, I wanted them to grow to thank God for all that He gives them.
I began to point out things that God gives us or helps us with, and then I would thank God out loud or invite my child to:
Thank you God for these pretty flowers…. for the rain (or) for stopping the rain!
Thank you for my new friend…. for giving me a good parking place… for helping me not burn this batch of cookies…for helping me on my test…. for helping me in my soccer game…
Many opportunities present throughout the day. As the kids have gotten older, I continue to point out ways that it seems God is providing and helping them. I thank Him aloud and suggest this to them.
When a child says thank you, my heart is moved because I hear his appreciation for someone’s help, for an experience, or for something he’s received. How much more do we bless our Heavenly Father when He hears us say “Thank you, Lord” or sees us leading our child to thank Him!
God sees our heart so He knows what or who is our current focus. Thanking God, He sees that our focus is Him – that we realize our experience, an outcome, an answer, a direction, a gift, an opportunity has been given to us by Him.
Our children are most influenced through what they witness in us.
Do they hear us express thanks to others, both friends and strangers? Do we thank them when we’re grateful for something they’ve done (even if it’s something we told them to do)? Do they witness our gratitude to God?
As we train, pray, and lead by example, our children will learn.