A little girl was helping her mother as she bustled around in a frenzy getting ready to serve dinner to a large group of guests. When they finally sat down to eat, the mother asked the little girl to say grace. “But I don’t know what to say,” the child protested.
“Oh, honey, just say what you hear Mommy say.”
“OK. Mommy: Dear God, why on earth did I invite all these people to dinner?”
Sounds like me—or you, perhaps?—in that moment of total exhaustion when we drop into our seats after preparing a big meal. And all the more so if you’ve cooked Thanksgiving dinner!
At this super-busy time of year, it’s all too easy for November to pass us by on the way to December. Even our kids pick up on the November-December craziness (read my recent guest post at “Pass the Bread, Mom”). Yet November offers us an opportunity we don’t want to miss: to cultivate gratitude—in ourselves and in our kids.
Thankful hearts do not come naturally in this “all about me” culture. An “attitude of gratitude” needs to be both taught—and caught. Of course that’s true all year round, but making November your “thankful month” is a great way to start.
How often do your kids hear you express thanks throughout the day? In one of our kids’ homes, they set a timer on their phones several times a day. When the timer goes off, everyone stops a moment to name one thing they’re thankful for.
Two of our grandkids have a “thankful tree,” (described in my guest post at “Pass the Bread”). Last weekend when Woody and I were with them, we got to add some of our own leaves. And I noticed that just walking by the tree throughout the day became a constant reminder to me: Give thanks, Linda!
What am I most thankful for this Thanksgiving? First: Our Great God, Who in His mercy, love, and grace has given us all the reason in the world to give thanks. What did G.K. Chesterton say? “The worst moment for an atheist is when he feels a profound sense of gratitude and has no one to thank.”
And second: The gift of watching parents cultivate in their kids (especially when they’re our grandkids!) a thankful heart.
Happy Giving-of-Thanks to all of you!