Encouraging a Thankful Heart

Girl helping DadA 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!



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  1. What a wonderful idea! Thank you so much for all of your wisdom. I fell asleep last night looking through your catalog. What a wealth of guidance for us young parents! Not to mention your prices. Thank you for being the Titus 2 women for so many!!

  2. Thanks so much for this idea. We need to work on gratitude and specifically when it comes to Daddy. He is in the military and we’ve been struggling with our father/daughter relations since his last deployment. Anyway, thanks!

  3. I would like to thank you for this post. My sons, ages 7, 5, and 3, were bickering over train tracks today, to no avail. I sat next to them to read this blog post and immediately called them to get paper and pen. We started a list and ended up with about 40 different ways that Papa blesses this family. This project shaped the rest of our day. We spent a good part of the afternoon finding ways to tidy up and be kind to each other as we awaited his return home. We discussed how it is easy for children to forget to bless their parents in small ways, but instead expect service and blessings often. While eating supper, we gave him the list of ways he blesses us to read. He was so touched that he could not make it all the way through without crying, something he never does. I finished reading it out loud for him. Sometimes it can be really easy to go about the day to day bits of life and forget to teach or show appreciation for the little things. Those little unnoticed acts deserve appreciation. You tremendously blessed our day. Thank you and God bless.

  4. Thank you for this wonderful idea. My husband and I will soon celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. This LONG list will be a wonderful gift the kids and I can present to him on that day!

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