A Month of Gratitude!
Generate a daily family discussion of reasons for feeling grateful. A list of questions is provided to start the conversation. Gratitude expresses our love for God every day!
Categories: Gratitude, Gratitude (Thanksgiving)
"Be grateful for an entire month?" That was a friend's surprised reaction when I suggested that she encourage the family to share gratitude regularly, especially during this Thanksgiving month. Yes, gratitude is an attitude of grace and should be active year round. No, gratitude is not a platitude that lacks joy and freshness and is only expressed at certain times of the year. Gratitude should be a regular part of family life.
Here are some questions to help generate a family discussion - perhaps during dinner times - this month. Most are Bible based. I'm sure you will think of more that are pertinent to your own family.
- What are the most common words we use to show gratitude? (In Psalms 100: 1 we are reminded to "Make a joyful noise.....")
- How often do we sincerely say "thank you" to others, including God?
- Music seems very important to you. Is there some aspect of music you're grateful for? (Does it bring God's harmony and joy into your life? Does it promote ideas that you're proud to stand for? What beatitude could be connected to it? See Matthew 5: 6, 8.)
- Is there something in your bedroom or among your other possessions that you're grateful for? (In David's Shepherd psalm, he reminds us "I shall not want.")
- What makes you grateful about the weather? (How did Noah, Jonah, and Jesus handle unusual weather conditions?)
- At mealtimes, can you be grateful for foods you don't like? (Do you think the Israelites liked eating manna? How did the disciples feel about the breakfast on the Galilean shore?)
- What sport, and which of your skills, are you especially grateful for? (In the story of Nehemiah rebuilding the wall, where did he get his energy to continue? See Nehemiah 6 and 7)
- Can you name two things parents do that you're grateful for? (From the Commandments, what does it mean to "Honour thy father and thy mother:"?)
- What item in the house are you most grateful for - a gift, a toy, a pet, the piano? (How important are "things" in comparison to "thoughts"?)
- At school, what can you give gratitude for - a subject you mastered, a special teacher? (Paul tells Timothy to "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.")
- Television and movies teach many things - are there some good things you've learned and can be grateful for? (How do you feel about accepting some of the bad images into your consciousness? Do your thoughts really matter?)
- Among your siblings and friends, which of their qualities stand out to you as ones to emulate and be grateful for? (Who were Jesus' friends - only the good people? What point does Jesus make in his parable of the good Samaritan told in Luke 10:25.)
- Are you grateful for the free time you have and the way you use it? (If short of time, think of what Jesus accomplished in just three years. Are we making the most of every moment or letting time slip by us?)
- When someone bullies you or fights with you, is there reason to be grateful? (See Matthew 5:8 on peacemaking, and 5:10-12 on the rewards of doing right as opposed to retaliating. Is there a good way to respond?)
- How can you express gratitude in your Sunday school class? (Listening, expressing joy, learning, participating, doing assignments, using what is taught. What idea have you used recently?)
- In our town/city/country, are there things for which we can be grateful? (Those who volunteer, such as fire fighters or service people, those who sit on committees, those who must make hard decisions. Could we take time to pray for these people? How would we pray? What line in the Lord's Prayer is important here?)
- Since this month includes National Bible Week, how are you grateful for ideas you've gained from studying the Bible? (Would you recommend this book to others? Do you have a copy of it handy - or just use it once a week? How as a family can we make the Bible our "book of life"?)
- How can we learn to express gratitude each day?
While not all of these questions will pertain to your family, they can be part of your personal assessment of gratitude at this season, and throughout the remainder of the year. So don't hesitate to get the conversation going!