Wednesday, October 12, 2016

What Does a Thankful Life Look Like?

Thanksgiving is just a month away . . . so of course, we all tend to think and talk about being thankful. Thankfulness; however; should be more than something we just think and talk about. What does a thankful life look like? We want the children in our ministries to live what they learn, so when it comes to being thankful, we want them to understand what a truly thankful life looks like when it is lived in their every day lives. Consider the following . . . 
  • First of all, a thankful person will voice their appreciation. When we are thankful, we do remember to take the time to say, "thank you!" One time when my husband and I took our then four year old grandson shopping with us, one of our stops was Sam's Club. As Josiah sampled some ice cream, he told the sample lady, "Thank you!" She said, "Wow! This little boy is the only person today who has said thank you!" Sadly, all too often, people do not say thank you. A thankful person will tell others "Thank you". If the children in your ministry have not learned to say "thank you", be sure to help them learn this most basic way to really be a thankful person. Showing good manners by saying "thank you" is more than just having good etiquette . . . it is about living and showing a "grace-filled" life! Check the Manners Mentor Blog for great information and resources for all you could ever need to know about manners!
  • And, keep in mind . . . while it matters for us to say, "Thank you", do not have a "canned" response. Take the time to ask where a person is serving, what they enjoy the most, what they have learned and if there is anything you can pray about for them. Yes, this takes time, but volunteers are volunteering their time - you can give a couple minutes to be truly sincere in voicing your thanks.
  • A thankful person will also show their appreciation. If you only "say" you are thankful, but never "show" your appreciation, your "thanks" will not seem real. As just mentioned, be sure to say "thank you", but pay attention. Watch to see if there are opportunities for you to "show" your appreciation as well. If someone has helped you in the past and you see an opportunity to help them, it gives you the chance to show your appreciation when you do so. Plan opportunities for the children in your ministry to show their appreciation to others. For example, if a volunteer is ill, have the children in their group/class plan a way to do something for them - make cards, write notes, make soup, go to their home to rake leaves, shovel snow or even do the dishes. Help the children in your ministry learn to be people who not only "say" they are thankful, but rather are people who "show" they are thankful!
  • A thankful person will also become a giving person. When we are truly thankful for the many ways God blesses us, our thankfulness will overflow into the lives of others! Look for opportunities to "Put Feet to Their Faith" and equip the children in your ministry, so they are people whose thankfulness overflows out of their lives and into the lives of others! When you involve your children in projects to gather food for those in your church and community who are hungry or raise money so children around the world are able to have clean, safe water or any other service project, you are providing them opportunities to let their thankfulness flow into the lives of others!
A truly thankful life is one where saying and showing appreciation becomes second nature. As you enter this "thanksgiving season", be sure to focus on helping the children in your ministry understand what a truly thankful life looks like!

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