The Discipline of Thankfulness

(This post was written by Gina McClain, Director of Children’s Ministries)

Discipline is not one of my favorite terms.  I bristle a little when I hear it.  I understand the need for discipline, however, applying discipline in my own life inspires some resistance.

But the definition of discipline is “an activity or exercise that develops or improves a skill”.

Well, when you put it that way… I guess, discipline can get a bad rap.

Last week my husband and I read an article in Thriving Family Magazine about teaching our kids the discipline of being thankful.  In a world where we tend to focus more on what we don’t have rather than what we have, thankfulness is a lost art.  Just stick your kids in front of Saturday morning cartoons for any amount of time and a sense of deprivation creeps in with every toy commercial they watch!

November is a great opportunity to spend time teaching our kids (and reminding ourselves) to acknowledge the ways God provides for us.

Here are a few activities you could do at home:

  • Basket of Thanks (great for elementary kids): have a stack of cards w/ a small basket at your dinner table.  Each time you sit down to dinner together, take the first few minutes, grab a card, and write down one way God blessed you that day.  On Thanksgiving Day you can review the cards and be reminded of the many ways God crept into your life to remind you of His love.
  • He Meets My Needs (great for preschoolers):  Create a small pile in your living room made up of blankets, toys, clothes, video games, socks, shoes, etc.  As a family, sort each item into one of two categories:  NEED & WANT.  Talk about some of the items that land in the ‘want’ pile.  Sometimes these can seem like a ‘need’ yet they are not.