“Say thank you, Mommy.”
I’ve been teaching manners to my daughter since she was less than a year old and only able to communicate with sign language.
As a pseudo-Southern mama, it only seems right that I teach my kiddo the proper way to ask for something and the correct response to any gift, compliment or otherwise kind act.
Of course, gratitude is more than good manners. It’s a way of viewing the world, a focus on the positive things, an attitude of appreciation for the blessings God gives us, both large and small.
And that’s exactly what I remember when my three-year-old reminds ME to say “please,” “thank you” and the occasional “excuse me.” At least she’s learning, right?
I don’t actually need help remembering my manners, despite her love of telling me to say “thank you” at the same moment she’s handing me something or giving me a kiss.
[Could it be that she feels as over-reminded and, let’s be honest, nagged as I do when she plays that little game? Hmmm…a question for another post!]
But while I am well-versed in saying “please” and “thank you” when it comes to pass the potatoes or give Mommy the Sharpie pen now, I probably could use a reminder to be truly thankful for everything God has given me.
Sometimes it’s easy to be thankful. From finding a good parking space to a baby who finally sleeps through the night, some things are pretty much gratitude givens.
Other times, it’s difficult or even impossible to be thankful. Losing a job, being hurt by a friend or hearing a scary diagnosis can threaten even the most appreciative person’s grateful spirit.
And sometimes, I’m learning, it’s not so hard to say “thank you,” but it’s another thing altogether to actually feel true gratitude.
Every night before bedtime, I hold my little girl in my lap and we say prayers. Most nights, along with “Please keep Daddy safe at work and help us sleep all night long,” I say, “Thank you for a house to live in and food to eat.”
Easy for a mom to say. Not so easy to believe it and live it.
Honestly, it’s hard to hang on to my gratitude for a house to live in when said house is actually one we’d love to sell but can’t. (A common problem these days, I know.) From a crumbling front porch and peeling varnish on the hardwood floors to a dryer that electrocutes me daily and pipes that back up if we so much as flush a Kleenex, our tiny house is falling apart.
But it’s our home. It’s a house to live in. Even if our ice maker doesn’t work and the crawl space floods every few months, it’s a home. It’s our home.
And I’m thankful for it. I just might need a reminder now and then.
Speaking of reminders: Don’t forget to design a Christmas card for a a child in Ecuador. The amazing project that Dayspring and Compassion have created will be complete on November 29. It takes just a few minutes of your day, and it will mean the world to a special kiddo in Ecuador.
What do you find it difficult to be truly thankful for? How do you encourage your family – or yourself – to be thankful for all things?Leave a Comment