The Lord has blessed me abundantly. Myriad little things aside, I am grateful for my family, for my knowledge of the gospel, for motherhood, for my friends, for my health, for my heritage, for freedom, for our means, for access to good food, for my love affair with great music, and can I say, for my red hair? (Never understood Anne Shirley's laments.) I could go on and on.
My children are my greatest treasures.
One of my husband's spiritual gifts is a grateful heart. He feels it genuinely and deeply, expresses it often, and expects our boys to learn to do the same. Here are some things we have done to instill this chief virtue in our children:
- We try to be examples by saying thank you often, both to each other and to them.
- We coach them in thanking Heavenly Father specifically during prayer.
- We try to speak gratefully of good deeds done by others.
- We give gentle reminders if the boys forget to thank, but more and more, they don't forget.
- We've recently started a tradition of each saying one thing we're grateful for before family prayer. It's a great way to bring peace to the evening.
Thanksgiving is a fun time to count our numberless blessings. Last year, Sammy and I started taping blessings on the living room wall during home preschool we do with a friend, and continued to add ideas throughout the month.
This year, we made a turkey with a blessing on every tail feather. Instead of asking, "What are you grateful for?" I asked, "What has Heavenly Father given you to make your life good?"
As I have made efforts to become more grateful over the years, I have noticed heavenly results. Gratitude is unifying. It is healing. It is humbling and strengthening. It enhances one's quality of life. Not to mention...
"And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more" (D&C 78:19).
What are you exceedingly grateful for?
How do you teach gratitude to your children?