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Thanksgiving is upon us. Soon we’ll be feasting around the table with friends and family, reflecting on what makes us thankful. Friends on social media write daily posts describing what they are thankful for. I imagine that there may be a child’s craft or two around your home, which includes a thankful list.

It’s easy to give thanks when things are good. When no one is sick, we are thankful for health. When bills are paid, we are thankful for jobs. When friendships are thriving, we are thankful for relationships. But what happens when things get rough? When crises come and we are unsure of the future, are we still thankful?

1 Thessalonians 5:17 says this: Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  

It’s difficult to give thanks when times are tough, but it is imperative. When our circumstances are not good, God remains good. When people fail us, God is faithful. These reminders can help us give thanks in all circumstances, whether our circumstances are good or bad.

Parents and grandparents, you can model giving thanks in all circumstances for your children and grandchildren. When a job is lost, let your children hear you say aloud (whether in prayer or to others) that God is faithful. Thank God for what you have before asking for what you want or need. Remind your children that God is good, and that he deserves our thankfulness in all circumstances.

Here are some practical ways to give thanks, to model this discipline for your children:

  1. Before school, tell your child to find three things to be thankful for. Then ask about those things after school.
  2. Pray before meals. Give thanks to God for the food He provides.
  3. Show gratitude to those who serve you (to restaurant servers, store clerks, and community workers). Say thank you aloud.
  4. When something bad happens (an accident, a sickness, etc.), give thanks for something. After a car accident, give thanks for those who help, safety, and for car insurance.
  5. At the dinner table, have each person list one thing that s/he is thankful for. (Don’t just save this practice for Thanksgiving dinner.)

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