Gratitude and thanksgiving are on our minds this time of year. Social media is filled with #30DaysofThanksgiving and #thankfulgratefulblessed.
But how do we cultivate truly grateful hearts in ourselves? In our kids?
How do we grow a sense of gratitude that endures beyond the holidays and transforms the way we live?
Here are 5 seeds you can plant today to reap a harvest of grateful hearts tomorrow:
1. Give Generously
We live a life of abundance.
Even if finances are tight, I guarantee you still live a life more abundantly blessed than most of the people around the world. We forget to appreciate the little things we take for granted: a bed, shelter, food, and running water.
Talk with your kids about struggles other kids around the world face. Discuss ideas for ways you can give generously all year long to help someone in need.
For example, our family chooses to sponsor a child in Colombia, where my grandfather immigrated from. We provide for her financially, pray for her, and send encouraging letters throughout the year. Our kids save up their own money to send birthday and Christmas gifts.
There are countless charitable organizations around the globe (and in your own community) that you can partner with to make a difference in the lives of others. This will help your family to appreciate your own blessings while also blessing others.
2. Practice Praise
Regardless of what you’re facing, God is worthy of your praise. It’s easy to praise Jesus when things are going well. We have to cultivate the practice of praising Him even in the midst of trials too.
When your kids are facing difficulties, practice praise.
Explore what you can thank God for in that situation. Create praise party breaks throughout your school day. Spend a few moments worshiping God and praising Him for His goodness, His faithfulness, His love, His sacrifice, His forgiveness, His mercy, and His promises.
The more time we spend praising God, the more gratitude overflows in our hearts.
3. Love Lavishly
Love is a verb. It requires action.
I adore 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 because of all the ways it describes what love LOOKS like. Read it together and talk about ways you can demonstrate love as a family.
- What does love look, feel, and sound like?
- How can you give and receive love within your home?
- How can you show love to those who hurt you? How can you love the most unlovable in your life?
Talk (and pray), then put love into action. You’ll see more grateful hearts.
4. Serve Selflessly
Jesus came to serve mankind. He transformed lives through service and modeled the power of love in action. Serving others helps us remember life is not about fulfilling our own desires. It also teaches our children the joy of making an impact in the lives of others.
You can serve through your local church or countless organizations in your community. Or, you can simply identify an area of need and tackle it as a family.
Here are some ideas:
- Join a neighborhood cleanup
- Visit the elderly with holiday cards
- Serving your neighbors by raking leaves, mowing lawns, shoveling snow
5. Thank Thoughtfully
When we thank people for all the ways they bless us, we increase our awareness of how much we have to be thankful for!
You can even make it a game: Get creative and find ways to express thanks. For those in your household, sit down around the table one day and share all you are thankful for about each person.
Be sure to download your FREE bonus devotion: Grateful. It includes encouragement for mom, a fun family faith-building activity, conversation starter, and delicious baking recipe to help you grow grateful hearts.
You can get the Grateful Devotion with Family Activity by leaving your name & email. We’ll zip it on over to your inbox.
And if you want more resources to feed your family’s faith, you can grab my new book: Dishing Up Devotions: 36 Faith-Building Activities for Homeschooling Families to cultivate biblical character all year long!
For more resources to grow your faith, strengthen your family, and simplify your homeschool, go to KatieJTrent.com.
Katie is the author of Dishing Up Devotions: 36 Faith-Building Activities for Homeschooling Families. She is also a popular speaker, homeschool mama of two, and a Pinterest drop-out with a messy house and happy kids—most of the time. After spending years helping others improve their lives through counseling and ministry, Katie realized the most fulfilling (and challenging) work she would ever do actually happens within her own home. She is passionate about equipping women to grow their faith, strengthen their families, and simplify their homeschools. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.