Giving thanks for what we have is much easier than giving thanks in the midst of something we wish we had. In other words, expressing thankfulness for the fun times is easier than giving thanks during the hard times. And yet, we have the opportunity to cultivate a heart of thankfulness in this generation.

mdg_8707a-river-in-paraguayWe live overseas in Paraguay, the heart of South America. Recently, we were on a trip out in the country with friends of ours, and our kids asked to walk down to the river. As moms, my friend and I said “Yes”, since it was something that the kids had done before.

Then, the next day, we found out that on that same river front (which was private property) and on that same morning that our children had gone to the river, there had been some men with weapons in that area. They had walked through the woods to the neighbor’s house, locked everyone in a room, demanded a large sum of money, and even asked about the people in the home across the field (the home of the friends we were staying with).

After hearing about the robbers’ home invasion, the only thing that I could say was, “Thank you, Lord, for protecting our families.” Because of His protection, we were spared.

In whatever circumstance we find ourselves, we have the opportunity to be proactive in voicing thankfulness. In the event I’ve just described, I could have chosen to be fearful and question God’s goodness in allowing my, and my friends’, children to be in such danger. However, had I voiced fear and accusation towards God, rather than thanksgiving in that moment, I would have deprived my children of hearing me say, “God is good, and I am thankful, despite my circumstances.”

1 Thessalonians 5:18 KJV says,

“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

What stands out to me are the words, “IN EVERY THING“. This is not always easy, but it is possible. And this is the message I want my children to hear and believe.

As I give thanks, people will see the difference, and it will change this generation.

Here are 3 activities that can help to cultivate a heart of thankfulness in your children and your home:

vintage-girl-thankful-tree-for-trishas-post1) Make a thankful tree.

(Click the image to the right to see how simplyvintagegirl created hers).

rgt-ineverythinggivethanks-table-place-settings2) Create place setting cards that everyone can write on. After the meal, share and give thanks. (suggestion by Deb Lockwood Wilke)

3) Find a time of day where you are all together as a family, and take time for each person to finish the sentence, “I am thankful for _________.” (suggestion by Trisha Goddard) 

Let’s join together to live out lives which teach the next generation to

give thanks in every thing.