the practice of thankfulness

originally posted at the homeschool village last fall.

thankful banner

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise . . .giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father.
Ephesians 5: 15, 20
When I was asked to write about how we can teach our children thankfulness, my mind initially jumped to creating a thankful tree, the yearly project of Operation Christmas Child or beginning a family gratitude journal.  I actually started and stopped several posts on these topics.  The problem was that none of them felt right.  I was forcing out the words rather than sharing my heart.  And while I think all of those things are fantastic traditions, I felt God wanted me to share the nitty gritty, everyday thankfulness.  The "how I get through my day when the going is rough" thankfulness.  Because if I can't model it at those times, it won't matter how pretty my journal cover or detailed my activity, right?

Let's set the stage.  The math and reading lessons have been pushed to the side. The littles have turned on their selective listening. The laundry is breeding in the basement.  I am frustrated and weary and defeated.  Except, I don't have to be.  I simply need to change my perspective.
  • We have been blessed by intelligently crafted curriculum that is available when needed and wanted. 
  • We have been blessed with beautiful freedom to learn together at home in a manner that suits our family.
  • We have been blessed with gorgeous and amazing children that we have the privilege to train and teach.
  • We have been blessed with clothes to wear and a washing machine to clean those clothes.  
The situation was exactly the same . . . except for me.  I took the things that can discourage or depress and viewed them through a lens of gratitude.  And that changes everything.

Passing down this habit to my children would be amazing.  Instead of hearing me complain about the six loads of laundry waiting to be washed, I can thank God for His provision.  Instead of yelling about disobedience, I can calmly tell them,
Mama loves you too much to allow you to act like this.  I am so thankful God made me your mother and He has asked me to train you.
If I want them to be thankful, I need to be thankful.

I don't want to ignore the hard stuff - I can't ignore it - but I also don't want to be defined by it.  We have been showered with gifts in a broken and messed up world.  We can be thankful in all situations.  Not faking it, not wearing rose colored glasses, but truly being thankful.

If we want an attitude of gratitude in our homes, we need to practice it.  Everyday, in every situation.  We can foster a spirit of thankfulness in this simple, yet powerful practice.  

today, i needed this reminder.  maybe you do to?
we are together in the battle, sisters and brothers.


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