One of the first things many Christian parents teach their kids is to thank others for giving them something. If your kids are older, you may also have taught them to write thank you notes. As wonderful as those habits are, gratitude should go much deeper. True gratitude is active.
Teaching your kids active gratitude can also help them develop into productive Christians as adults. So what are the pieces of an active gratitude?
- Saying thanks. Do your kids regularly and sincerely thank God for the many blessings He gives them? Are they even aware that every good thing is a gift from God? Thanking God shouldn’t become a meaningless ritual, but rather a constant expression from a grateful heart.
- Being good stewards. Nothing is more frustrating to someone who has given a special gift than to see the recipient treat it carelessly. Teaching your kids to be good stewards of not only money, but every gift from God is important. Don’t forget to teach them to be good stewards of gifts like nature, their talents, their relationships and other gifts they may not necessarily connect to being good stewards.
- Sharing with others. A huge part of gratitude is understanding that not everyone is blessed with the same gifts. Encouraging your kids to be generous with their gifts is an important part of helping them develop active gratitude. This is especially true for gifts that they may not realize can and should be shared with others.
- Telling others about the giver. What is the first question people often ask when someone is given an amazing gift? They want to know who gave it. This is partially curiosity, but also because they are wondering if a similar gift may be given to them by that person. A crucial part of active gratitude is telling others about God, who gave the gifts. Of course the best gift God has given everyone is the possibility of salvation and spending eternity in Heaven with Him. Your kids should be as excited about sharing the good news of the Gospel message and God the giver as they would be if someone gave them their dream present.
Teaching your kids active gratitude can mold their hearts in such a way that they become grateful, productive Christians when they are older. It’s worth your time and effort.