Mimi Larson in her recent Network Post Helping Children In Your MInistry Give Thanks, pointed out that since out children live in a cosumer driven world, teaching them to give thanks is sometimes difficult. She asks
How can we intentionally nurture gratitude in their hearts so that they turn their eyes toward others too? How can we engage the faith practice of gratitude within our ministry with children?
Although her post is directed to Children's Ministry, I think the suggestions she offers can be used by all ages, and by singles or families.
A WALL OF GRATITUDE
Find some open space on a wall or perhaps a door that you pass by often. Have a stack of Post-It notes and a pen nearby. Each time you pass by the wall or at certain times of the day, you can have everyone write something they are thankful for on a Post-It note and stick it on the wall.
NAME OUR THANKS
Often on Thanksgiving Day we go around the table and say what we are thankful for. What about incorporating this practice into your regular devotional time? The things that are named can then become a part of your prayer.
There are several ideas for focussing your thanksgiving time. You could choose a different letter of the alphabet each time. You could write different categories on slips of paper and put them in a jar. Then someone could pull out one of the slips and that is the category you would give thanks for.
THANK YOU NOTE PROJECT
Writing thank you notes isn't something we usually do. Yet it can be a great way to not only give thanks but also bless others. Have each person think about a person they are grateful for and why. It could be a family member, church member or someone in the community.
For young children have them draw a picture or provide fill-in-the blank thank you cards that they can sign. For older children and the rest of us, we can create or decorate a card and write our own thank you notes. In this pandemic time, e-cards are also a fun way to say thank you.
You can either mail the card(s) or stop by and deliver them. If there is no mailbox, you could put the card in front of the door, knock on the door and then back the 2 meters (6 feet) away. Receiving something in the mail that is not bills or advertisement is a wonderful surpise.
Learning to notice and say thank you takes intentional work. Yet the spiritual practice of Gratitude helps build our faith. Especially when, in addition to whatever activity we do, we also direct our thanksgiving to God.