A Thankful Heart Is a Generous Heart

“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thess. 5:18).

mom-and-girlSharing has two sides:

1. Lettings others enjoy the things we have

2. Being content with what we have

Several weeks ago we started a series of posts about teaching children to share. So far we have addressed the following topics in previous posts:

  • We need to establish limits for our children and teach them the concepts of ownership and stewardship.
  • We need to teach a child patience and help him understand that he cannot have whatever he wants whenever he wants it.
  • A child who forcibly takes what he wants from others is stealing. He is not treating others the way he wants to be treated, and he should be corrected.

A child who will cheerfully share with others must first learn to be thankful. Generosity springs from a thankful heart. If we truly appreciate all that God has done for us, if we recognize that all that we have and are is the result of His grace alone, our joy and gratitude will lead us to show grace to others. We have freely received God’s blessings. Now we can freely bless others with grateful hearts.

A child who learns that all that he has is a gift from God will be better prepared to share those blessings with others. Spend today helping your children appreciate all that they have been given.

As you go through the day, grab hold of opportunities to remind your children of God’s blessings. Are children arguing over a toy? In a friendly voice, ask, “How did you get that toy? Did someone give it to you? Did you know that God has blessed you through that person’s generosity? Let’s thank God for it. . . Now that you have been blessed, He wants you to bless others with what you have been given.”

Are two children vying for the last piece of cake? “How did we get this cake? Mama made it. God used Mama to bless you. Let’s thank Him for it. . . Now He and Mama both want you to be grateful and bless others with what you have been given.”

Keep pointing your children to the Giver, offer thanks together, and then ask them to give as freely as God has given to them! Nurture a spirit of gratitude and praise in your home. Teach children to say thank you whenever something is done for them or given to them. Teach tiny ones as soon as possible to sign the word “thank you,” and train them to say it at every opportunity. Voice your own words of thankfulness to your spouse and to your children. Give audible thanks to God at meals and throughout the day.

This isn’t all there is to teaching children to share, but a thankful heart is the foundation we build on.

 

 

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3 Comments

  1. We could use some insight about sharing with neighborhood children. Our sons were given new sleds for Christmas and it seems no one else in the neighborhood has a single sled. We took our children plus a couple neighbor children with us sledding and found that our oldest son was very upset at the thought of letting anyone use his new sled, especially on thin snow with its greater likelihood of scratches. He had another good reason, too. We have precious little resources to go around and often a highly valued item has been damaged by a neighbor. Not once has a parent offered to make amends in a situation like this. Children are often careless with things that aren’t their own. My husband has instilled a strong respect for others’ property. That, coupled with the many experiences we’ve had with neighbors has produced a good strong respect for other people’s things in our children, but also maybe a bit of overprotectiveness, too.
    It is hard to know how to handle neighbor children whose parents don’t take them anywhere or provide them with what we consider basic toys. We want to love on them, but are often torn at the cost to our own children. We are learning to make the decision WITH our children so they understand the cost. For instance, “yes, we can take __________ and _________ with us to buy those special treats we promised you, but the extra cost will come out of our family’s entertainment budget this month.” Hmmm, that really made them stop and think! We want them to continue to be generous, but also understand there is a cost. It’s really tough and sometimes discouraging to parents.
    Any insights on where to draw the line?

  2. That’s a great question, Dawn, and one that has come up a few times during the writing of these posts. I actually had your basic question in mind as I wrote this post, and was seeking to lay the foundation of thankfulness before tackling the pricklier parts of sharing.
    Stayed tuned for next week. We definitely won’t wrap up all the aspects of sharing into one tidy little we’ve got-it-all-figured-out package, but we’ll prayerfully try to address some of the challenges. 🙂

  3. Thank you for your words – well written in a way that made such great sense and are a wonderful encouragement to me, a mother very much in the midst of the teaching and training little ones.