As I write this, Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away. On that day, families and friends around the country will gather and spend a few minutes thanking God for His blessings. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, but what would happen if your family chose to make this month – or any month – an entire month of gratitude?
The idea for the month of gratitude is to spend some time each day finding creative ways to thank anyone and everyone who has touched your life in a positive way. Some days, you may chose to do things together as a family. Other days, each person may do something individually.
At the end of every day, spend time discussing what you did, why that person needed to be thanked and how they reacted. Then spend some time thanking God for His blessings, including the people you thanked that day.
So who are some people your family may choose to thank?
- Neighbors – Do you have neighbors who always have a smile and a kind word for your kids? Does one of your neighbors pick up your mail when you are out of town? Do you have neighbors that loan you items or provide extra help? You may verbally say thanks each time, but why not go above and beyond and do a little something that communicates how much you appreciate them as great neighbors?
- Former Teachers – Obviously current teachers need to be thanked also, but want to have some real fun? Go back in time – even to your own childhood and track down some of your favorite teachers. Send a note, stop by after school and make a visit, send cookies, flowers or a gift card. You will affirm and encourage someone who helped you and/or your kids learn and grow in a positive way.
- The Garbage Men – Okay, not just the garbage men, but any person who provides services for your home, but probably rarely if ever gets thanked. A bottle of water or soda and a cute handmade thank you note from your kids might just make their day.
- Church Volunteers – The person who puts the coffee pot on, the Sunday School teachers of older kids and teens, the people who greet, fill the communion cups or wash the towels after a baptism are probably all but forgotten. Find a creative way to show you notice and appreciate their time and effort. Yes, that’s not why they do it, but they will be so encouraged to find they are making a positive difference.
- School Bus Drivers and Crossing Guards – It’s not the easiest job to get dozens of kids to school and home safely each day. Find some way to let them know you appreciate everything they do to keep your child safe.
- The Lady at the Cleaners and the Bagger at the Grocery – Are there people in businesses you regularly frequent who are always kind and courteous? Perhaps their service is always beyond the minimum required to do their job. Some businesses have rules, but at the very least a note not only to them, but their supervisor can make a big difference in their lives.
- Members of Your Congregation – Is there someone who is always especially kind to your children? Do you or your kids have people who mentor and/or encourage you? Do you have someone who always checks on you and maybe even pitches in when you need a little extra help? Is there someone who brightens your day just by their positive godly spirit or warm smiles and hugs? No, they don’t do it to be thanked, but what an encouragement you would be to their personal ministry of helping and serving others.
- Babysitters, Nurses and even the Dentist – Yes, you pay all of them to take care of your kids, but are they always kind, sweet and loving? Did they help your child learn how to take care of themselves by patiently working with them as they cried through doctor visits, shots or parent date nights? Let them know what a positive impact they have had on your kids and your family.
There may be others you and your family can thank. In fact, if you have some great ideas, please feel free to share them in a comment so others can thank those people in their lives, too. Make this month a month when your family spends the entire month going out of their way to thank others. You may find your family is more appreciative and joyful by the end of the month as well.