“Give thanks in all circumstances . . .”
~ 1 Thessalonians 5:18
For almost two decades, our family has lived in one of the most affluent communities in the United States. We moved into a small, three-bedroom house, long before the multi-million dollar homes took shape and the parks and open spaces were developed.
Situated south of Denver proper, our small suburb sits on the lip of the bowl called the Denver Valley, looking down on the rest of those who make this Colorado city their home. Ours is a planned community with beautifully designed shopping areas, large homes governed by a home association, and streets, lawns and parks manicured with precision. Many call our community a “bubble,” a self-contained environment that tries to keep the “bad” out and the “good” in.
This is the environment in which we raised our children. It has its benefits: great schools, safe neighborhoods, lovely parks, and family-oriented community events. But it also has its rather daunting downside: an uncanny knack for producing spoiled kids.
High-schoolers drive cars I’ll never be able to afford, and kindergarten classrooms have more cell phones than Goldfish crackers. Each January, when my kids go back to school, we listen to the lists of expensive gifts their friends received for Christmas. Come August, we hear about the expensive vacations to exotic places.
At times it feels almost impossible to raise balanced children in this environment. No matter how much we do for them, it’s never enough. How can we possibly counteract what they see and experience every day?
Over the past several years, my husband and I have come to believe this isn’t a struggle unique to our community. If you live in the United States, you’re spoiled. So am I. We have far more than we realize, even during tough financial seasons. Even our poor have more resources than the majority of the world. Is it possible to raise our boys to be anything but spoiled men?
I believe the key—at least one of them—is cultivating a spirit of gratitude. Simply put, gratitude is . . .
. . . the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful.
Unfortunately, cultivating an attitude of gratitude isn’t simple. It doesn’t just happen. It takes intentionality and discipline.
November culminates with my favorite holiday of the year —Thanksgiving. For that reason, the subject of gratitude seemed well-timed. This month we’ll be discussing how to cultivate a grateful spirit in the heart of your son. It includes establishing a pattern of gratitude, developing a grateful perspective on life, and providing opportunities to practice gratitude.
Because gratitude is well demonstrated in the Bible, I’ll also be including a few key verses to encourage each of us to become women of gratitude ourselves. As I’ve mentioned many times before, it starts with us before it ever makes it to our kids. Here are a few verses to encourage you on your own gratitude journey. I hope the reading of them infuses your heart with thankfulness!
Here they are:
“Give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts.” ~ 1 Chronicles 16:8
“Sing to the LORD with grateful praise; make music to our God on the harp. He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills. He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call.” ~ Psalm 147:7-9
“The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” ~ 1 Corinthians 15:57
“But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere.” ~ 2 Corinthians 2:14
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” ~1 Thessalonians 5:18
What verse most swells your heart with gratitude?