“Why is this taking so long?”
My six-year-old’s words caught me off guard. I was working feverishly to get dinner on the table and my two sons were already sitting down, waiting.
Almost instantly, I could feel my blood pressure rising. Who did this kid think he was? I had spent the past half hour assembling this meal and he wasn’t showing an inkling of gratitude. Did he know how hard I worked each and every day for this family?
Of course he didn’t. He was six.
Fortunately, before a torrent of anger came spewing out of my mouth, my husband addressed the situation. He told our son to apologize. Over dinner, we had conversation about being thankful and informed him he would be helping with the dishes, a chore usually done by an adult. But I couldn’t get my son’s words out of my mind.
My heart’s desire is to raise children who have grateful hearts, not children who think they are entitled to everything without having to work for it. We could delegate more work around the house, but what that it? I sensed I was missing something.
Out of curiosity, I conducted a survey asking some of my readers how they instilled gratitude in their children. I received a single response: Be grateful. The reply left me asking myself the question: Am I thankful?
There are certainly some days when I grumble. A lot. Like the other day when I lost my temper while trying to get the kids out the door in time for school. Often, my body language is enough to do all of my talking for me. It says, “I’m tired and irritable so leave me alone.”
When I take stock of my attitude toward life, I know I am grateful, but do my kids? Our children model what they see, so the best teacher on gratitude is their parents.
Colossians 3:17 says, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Whenever I see that word “all” in the Bible, I have to admit it makes me cringe a little bit. After all, who can search for missing socks and clean up endless messes to the name of Jesus, all while giving thanks?
No one. Not without the help of the Spirit living in us.
When my desire is to become more like Jesus, the best place to start is at the foot of the cross.
Fully aware of my need for guidance, I went before the Lord in prayer. I bared my soul to him and admitted my weaknesses. And right there in the midst of my shortcomings, I found his strength.
As I awoke the next morning, I knew the day was brimming with possibilities. My kids and I made it out the door on time and as we pulled out of the driveway, I saw hint of rainbow in the middle of a huge, dark cloud.
It was getting more vivid with each moment.
Excitedly, I pointed it out to my son.
“Do you see it, buddy, do you see it?” I asked.
“Yes, Mama! And look, it’s following us!” he said with a grin.
As we made our way down the road, I felt giddy with anticipation of what the day held in store. And I thanked God for providing us with a step in the right direction.