November is the month we all focus on being grateful and giving thanks. Everyone loves a thankful person. It can make or break our day.
“God gave us a gift of 86,400 seconds in a day. Have you used one to say, ‘thank you’?” ~ William Ward
As a mom of ten children, I need help daily. I can boss and order everyone around which is not edifying, and later backfires on me when I hear it coming out of my children’s mouths to each other. Or I can say thank you to encourage my children to do about anything.
I thank my children for everything from brushing their teeth to putting their glass in the dishwasher. It works on my husband too. Being thankful yields more benefits than maybe you’ve ever thought.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
I want to share five ways that saying Thank You can change your day for the better.
1. Always thank someone for even the little things they do well, correctly, or carefully.
I have taught my children so many things just by saying thank you.
“Thank you for cleaning your table spot and putting you dishes in the dishwasher. Now your area will be clean when we start school.”
Telling them why you are thankful makes them feel like they have an important role in helping that they may not have realized. Kids aren’t always able to process cause and effect so verbalizing it builds self-help skills as well as self-confidence.
2. Catch them doing something you want them to repeat in the future and thank them for it.
“Thank you for coming downstairs so quietly. You didn’t even wake up your sister.”
What was learned from that one statement? Mom expects me to come downstairs quietly, I did a good job, and I think I will do that again next time.
3. Encourage a behavior you want by thanking them BEFORE they do it.
After breakfast we have three chores to do before we start school: Make bed, get dressed, and brush teeth. To get the ball rolling I might say, “Thank you for getting you morning chores done and meeting me in the family room for morning time.”
Two things are happening. One, I am thanking them for what I need them to do, and two, I’m giving them an incentive to get back down for the next thing. Works almost every time.
4. Thank them in front of each other and everyone tends to follow.
If I thank one for putting their shoes on the shoe shelf, it never fails that someone goes back to put their shoes away.
“Thank you for always cleaning your room after play time. You won’t have to go back and do it later.” I am ‘still’ hoping this will rub off on the little girls… I’ll keep trying.
5. Remind them to say thank you for all things as well.
As parents, we have a responsibility to our children to teach them thankfulness. It takes intentional direction for thankfulness to be automatic. You know it is clicking when one thanks another without being reminded. Until then, keep reminding.
I am beginning to hear sprinkles of it throughout our day, and yes, I even thank them for thanking each other. Did I say I am sometimes an ‘over thanker’? It worked in my classroom when I taught school, and it is working in our family.
Lady Bird Johnson said, “Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them.”
I couldn’t agree more. I believe thanking our family will create thankful people, making the world a more beautiful place. Children don’t learn to be thankful being told to do so, they learn by seeing or hearing it being lived out in front of them. Scott and I are intentional in thanking each other in front of our kids. They see the thankfulness in the person saying it and witness the positive reaction in the person receiving the gratitude.
Our children are watching us constantly. You know as well as I do, they will repeat your words and behavior whether it is good or bad. Being thankful in front of them is a very good thing!
Call to Action
1. Read books and stories.
A great way to highlight thankfulness is in books and stories you read together as a family.
This week we were listening to Little Britches on Audible, and we heard the father say, “The best boss is the one who bosses the least.” I wrote it down, so we could talk about it. When we finished listening, I read the quote again and asked what they thought it meant. The discussion finally led to our being thankful for less bossing and more thankfulness in our family. Kids don’t need a boss, they need an encourager.
2. Celebrate Thankful Thursday.
Doesn’t social media go wild celebrating Thankful Thursday? Make it an extra special day to be thankful on Thursdays. Write notes, call someone and thank them for something ordinary, or count the thank yous in a day. Making something intentional and light hearted can increase the repetition of it much more likely.
3. Bring it all back to God and His Will for our Lives.
Colossians 3:15 says, “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.”
The number one word I see in that scripture is Peace. Isn’t that what we all crave and long for? The Bible offers peace to a thankful person. Peace and thanks go hand and hand. I can’t think of a better reason to be shouting thank yous all day long!
Peace is the heart of Jesus, and we all need more of Him.
I would love to know if this transforms your family. I’m pretty sure it will!