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Happy Thanksgiving!

Let's take a week off from our weekly family night knowing that you'll be enjoying family tomorrow for thanksgiving! Instead, let's talk how to teach gratitude to kids with a little message from Josh Straub at Lifeway.

Lifeway has amazing resources for families and we're so #Thankful that we can use their resources! Check out an article called "How to Teach Your Kids to Be Thankful: fight entitlement by thinking about your blessings" or scroll to read it below!

Make your own "Thank you, Jesus" Jar

A new take on the gratitude jar...

1. Start with an empty plastic jar. Plastic jars are your best bet because they won’t break if accidentally dropped. But for older kids a good ole fashioned canning jar might be the cutest.

2. Anything goes for decoration. Your child can use practically any craft item to decorate her jar. Torn tissue paper, yarn, glitter, construction paper… even buttons, bottle caps and photos. Some people color the paper they apply and some glue whole crayons all the way around the jar for color! You can even cover it with cut-out photos of your family. The more your child makes it her own, the better!

3. Don’t forget the lid. This is a great place for your child to label the jar or really stake claim to it by putting their own name on it. (e.g., Elaina’s Thank you, Jesus Jar

4. Make the slips. Cut out blank squares of paper on which to write things for which you are grateful that God's given you/blessed you with. You can also use a small notebook for this if the pages will easily tear out and fold small enough to fit quite a few into the jar over the coming days. Each one should start as a prayer... "Thank you, Jesus for....."

5. Kick it off together. Start the gratitude process by each writing one "Thank you, Jesus..." and putting your slips in the jar. This lets you model the practice for your child and opens a way for you to help her understand what goes in the jar. From then on, as much as possible, let your child be the one to pick her own thing that she’s grateful for during your gratitude jar time.

4. Add a slip to the jar each day. With the jar ready to go, pick a regular time to write the thank-yous—maybe at dinner or bedtime. As you add a slip each day, soon the jar will fill with reminders of good things in your child’s life. If your child has a bad day, have her read some of the slips and then help her find something to add to the jar.

You can put an extra holiday twist on this practice by keeping it going daily from Thanksgiving through New Years. Then on New Year’s Day, sit down with your child and go through the "Thank you, Jesus" jar together, literally counting the blessings God's given you and resolving how to appreciate and celebrate them in the coming year.

A message from Josh to parents:

When our son, Landon, was 3, he came home from preschool with brown construction paper cut into the shape of feathers and a note for Christi and me.

We were to talk with Landon about what he was thankful for and then write them on the respective feathers. When we sat down with him to learn what he was thankful for, he didn’t know what it meant to be “thankful.”

I know he was only 3 years old at the time, but it was a big lesson for Christi and me.

The upcoming holidays are the perfect soil for the growth of entitlement, especially with technology and screens being some of the most popular gifts given to children in America.

Think about it in your own world. You see your friends enjoying vacations, taking trips, and living lives you privately envy. Voyeurism of others’ lives via social media breeds covetousness even in the best of us.

Now enter into your child’s world, with a still-developing brain, and in a season when emotions are likely first being felt at a deep level in relation to peers.

The holidays are ripe for entitlement not just because our kids receive presents — often in excess — but because unlike ever before, they can see what they don’t have.

Reversing entitlement begins with gratitude. But it starts with us parents.

-->First, it’s the Father’s will for us to “give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:18).

-->Secondly, gratitude is scientifically proven to make life more rewarding. Research shows we can live a happier life by asking, “What am I grateful for?”

Here are a few more ways to teach your kids what it means to be thankful:

  • Either at dinner or before bedtime each night, describe for your kids what you’re thankful for and ask them what they were thankful for that day.

  • Practice becoming more openly thankful toward one another in front of your kids.

  • Begin each day by sending a short “thank you” email or text message to someone you’re thankful for.

  • Each day, post on social media something you’re grateful for. Don’t use it as a brag post. Nobody enjoys that. Show genuine gratitude.

  • Give more compliments than complaints to your kids. Specify the thoughtful behavior or gesture you’re complimenting.

*Remember, our kids do as we do, not as we say. Let’s reverse entitlement by stopping the comparison game and instead being grateful for all we’ve been given.

Have fun with those jars, y'all!!


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