Practicing Gratitude

When someone gives you a gift, what is the standard, considered-good-manners, expected response?

(Everyone say it all together…)

Thank You!

Unfortunately, kids aren’t born knowing how to be thankful.

Now, I know. You are well-aware of your parental requirement to teach your children manners. (Please, thank you, you’re welcome, and the rest).

How about training them to have a grateful heart?

A thankful heart shown in chalk

Need an ingress to this topic? Our June Rotation offers an appropriate Bible story. We’ve been studying the “Widow’s Offering” from Mark 12:41-44.

We’ve already learned that gifts given to God are called offerings. Our offerings can be time, talents, or money.

We’ve also learned that the woman in our story could have given everything she owned (two, small coins!) out of trust that God would provide for her needs.

What about the possibility that the poor widow gave because she was grateful?


For the widow in our story, it probably wasn’t her first time giving an offering. She was likely in the habit.

Perhaps we need to practice being thankful.

Here are some ways…

  • Set up a place for praises. In a noticeable location, place a stack of papers and a pen near a basket or a bowl. (Or post a list on the refridge; or give everyone their own journal.) Encourage everyone to draw or write about things that make them grateful. Once a week ponder your collection.
  • Write notes to your family (the lunch box, posted on the car dash, on the mirror, saying, “Right now, what are you thankful to God for?” Expect a report at the dinner table.
  • While driving around town allow a certain happenstance (every dog seen or every blue car) to spark the announcement of a grateful.
  • Use this mealtime grace: Thank you for the world so sweet. Thank you for the food we eat. Thank you for the birds that sing. Thank you, God, for everything. Follow it up with everyone naming a gratitude.
  • Write short thank-you notes to people who might appreciate a little thanks. Folks at church – such as the person who sang a solo, the person who rocked babies in the nursery, or the pastor; in your neighborhood – the person who lets you pick flowers, or always bags your groceries. The possibilities are endless!
What are your ideas for practicing gratitude?

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Photo credit:
Chalk thank you by Judy Merrill-Smith, licensed under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND 2.0).

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