A thankful heart is a heart that is ready to obey. It’s so easy for children to be unaware of the many ways their parents serve them. We need to help them learn to be thankful.
Sit down with your children and make a list of all the ways their daddy serves your family. Talk together, ask them leading questions, and give them some suggestions. Assign one of the children to act as secretary, recording everyone’s ideas. (Or write them down yourself if the children are all too young for this task.)
List big things like going to work (or looking for work, if that is the case) each day, reading the Bible to the family, keeping the car in good running order, helping make wise decisions, and disciplining children. Help them think of the little things, too – things like scraping the ice off the windshield on cold mornings before he heads for work, reading a story at bedtime, finding out how to get somewhere in the car, going to baseball games, etc., etc. See if you can list at least fifty things that Daddy does to love and serve his family. That shouldn’t be too hard. (Every Daddy has his weak areas, just like all the rest of us. Don’t worry about those. Focus on what he does do and what you can be thankful for. And if there isn’t a daddy in your home, think about someone that God has brought into your lives to help you. Make a list of the ways that person serves you.)
Review the list together. Show the children how long it is, and assure them that you probably haven’t thought of even half of what he does. Discuss how much they have to be thankful for.
Then start brainstorming about ways the children can show their gratitude to their daddy. In what ways can they thank him? A note or thank you card would be nice. Help them think beyond that to active, practical things they can do for their daddy to show their appreciation – things like cheerfully greeting him at the door when he comes home from work, cleaning up the house before he arrives, doing some of his chores for him, obeying him, saying thank you every time he does something for them, giving him little gifts or backrubs or cups of tea, playing the piano for him while he relaxes, choosing to be quiet for his sake when they would rather be noisy, reading him a story, serving him at the dinner table, making his lunch for him to take to work, writing little notes to put in his pockets or on his pillow. Be creative! Write down every idea and keep the list where everyone can come back to refer to it.
Ask them to put these ideas into action. What will each of them do today to show their daddy how much they appreciate him? What will they do tomorrow? Encourage them to make these demonstrations of gratitude a daily habit. Encourage them with your words, and encourage them with your example. See if Daddy isn’t a happier daddy, and if your household doesn’t become a more joyful and peaceful place to be!