Why I Want my Kids to Learn to be Grateful

Inside: Thankfulness in our kids will take practice as they mature in faith, however, gratitude will lead to a happiness that won’t be swayed by circumstances. This is why I want my kids to be grateful.

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Have you noticed lately that our world seems to be changing rapidly? I heard that transformation has been more significant in the last few decades in technology than ever before in history. With the rise of technology though, the people within our culture appear to be getting meaner, less compassionate and more “me-centered.”

Sitting behind our smartphones and laptops spewing off whatever we like from the safety of our homes might be one reason. The more significant reason, I believe, is faith in God has departed from the majority of people’s lives.

A few months ago, I helped out with VBS, and I was amazed at the lack of thankfulness in our youth. Even saying basic “please and thank yous” were missing from the mouth of babes. Honestly, it made me question what I was doing. I got grumpy because when people don’t appreciate what you are doing for them, it cheapens the reason behind your behavior.

Doesn’t it seem like most people aren’t happy these days? I mean happy as in making-the-world-a-better-place-rubbing-off-on-others-kind-of-happy. Grumbling, anger and complaining are the normal human behavior currently.

It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness. ~Charles Spurgeon

To be Grateful is a Character Trait We Need to Become

Let me make it clear that selfishness is part of our human condition; therefore appreciation is not something that comes to us naturally. But when we come to faith, we understand God’s graciousness to us, and His Spirit within us starts working and leading us to practice gratefulness.

As Christians, we know everything comes from God and those things we receive are gifts. But how do we instill in our children thankfulness when the culture we live in seems to be stuck on “it’s my right, or I’m owed it” mindset?

Why Should we be Grateful?

When Christ has saved us, we realize all the blessings He’s given us are those which we don't deserve. #thankfulness #gratitude Click To Tweet

A saved heart is a thankful heart.

Happy people are thankful people. Who likes to be around grumpy people who complain about everything?

No matter what, we can always find a blessing. In the midst of any life storm, the happy person can find a silver lining.

We are lights shining in this dark world when the Spirit is working within us. When we live with this attitude, it brings people to God. Our thankfulness can lead other Christians to find strength in their faith.

Thankfulness is addicting.

With our ability to open hands to others, we can share God more readily. The Good News is for everyone and blessings abound when we have a Heavenly mindset.

Other Benefits of Gratitude

Being grateful increases our faith and our wellbeing here on Earth. The health ramifications are astounding on gratitude; it helps physiological and emotional health, sleeping better and gives higher self-esteem.

Being happy is a sign of emotional strength because you will be able to weather storms with a thankful heart.

The thankful person has many relationships because people want to be in connection with people who are happy and enjoy life.


It is only with gratitude that life becomes rich!  –Dietrich Bonhoeffer

10 Ways to Teach Your Kids Thankfulness.Thankfulness in our kids will take practice as they mature in faith, however, gratitude will lead to a happiness that won’t be swayed by circumstances. #thankful #blessed #christiankids #lightinthedark #livingoutfaith

The Enemy who Steals your Happy

Here’s the thing, we have an enemy that wants us to think that we are lacking. Life is unfair, blessings are few and far between, and we need more, all ploys of Satan to keep us bound up in selfishness. If we choose to remain here, life will seem unfair, and we will never get our fill.

Remember Eve in the garden; she was happy and fulfilled until Satan pointed out what was missing from her life. Eve decided she needed the fruit because it was unfair God was keeping it from her. She didn’t feel blessed with what she had; she needed more.

(Genesis 3:1, NLT).

The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?

Turning from our self-centered human nature to a God-centered attitude doesn’t happen right away, but instead, it is a life-long process. As we teach and practice thankfulness, we deepen and mature in faith. This gratitude will lead us to a lasting happiness that won’t be swayed by events and circumstances.

How do we Teach our Children Thankfulness?

  • Model for them this behavior
  • Explain to them how Satan works
  • Teach them about privileges and rights
  • Practicing serving others with them
  • Explain to them about money and saving
  • Prepare them to say “thank you” by saying it to your child when they do something
  • Send thank you notes
  • Teach the art of appreciating the people who influence and help them
  • Encourage them to seek God in all circumstances and ask Him to show them thankfulness in everything
  • Help them observe others less fortunate


Gratitude produces deep, abiding joy because we know that God is working in us, even through difficulties. –Charles Stanley

If you’re like me, I want my children to experience the best of life. When my kids come to faith and grow in that faith, they will become thankful. I can model and give them examples of how to be more grateful, but a personal relationship with God will keep them grateful.

Our kids can indeed change the culture when they display thankfulness in their daily lives.


My Thanksgiving PrayerMy Thanksgiving PrayerEntering the Presence of God: Moving Beyond Praise and Thanksgiving to True WorshipEntering the Presence of God: Moving Beyond Praise and Thanksgiving to True Worship7/87/8Thanksgiving - Great Chrisitian Hymns CollectionThanksgiving – Great Chrisitian Hymns CollectionGod Gave Us Thankful HeartsGod Gave Us Thankful Hearts


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  1. Now that is something … teaching kids to be thankful will shape them to be humble. Indeed gratitude opens up true riches of Heaven:

  2. I’m not sure I can love this post any more than I do! I am so saddened by the children and teens who walk into my office and have never been taught how to be thankful and grateful. It truly does breed mental health issues. The lens in which they are viewing the world becomes skewed and their perspective ultimately turns negative which has ramifications on physical and mental health, along with relationship concerns, and overall wellness. God bless!

    1. Melissa- thank you so much! Do you think that is why we see such an increase in mental health problems within society?

  3. Yes, we are so focused on ourselves and what we want individually in our culture that seeing the world from a perspective of gratitude seems to be lost. Some of the most generous people I know are also the most grateful for what they have. And it’s not always a lot!

    1. Rebekah- Our society has lost humility in the process also. Being less and making others more. We’ve moved so far from what the Bible teaches!

  4. Bravo Julie! What a wonderful post! Gratitude is a heart matter! We live in a world where there is the expectation that “we deserve”. However, we deserve nothing. When we understand why gratitude is important we understand how precious everything we have in life is because of our relationship with God. You hit the nail on the head when you said that thankfulness is addicting. Our biggest problem as humans is that we live in a “me” society. It is important to teach our children the responsibility of being thankful and the importance of demonstrating it. There is so much goodness in this post!

  5. Being grateful takes a lot of work. I’d have to say that anything good does take a lot of sowing into because we are naturally selfish. And that’s where the Holy Spirit comes to do a work in us, just as you said!

  6. I was just talking about this topic with some other moms last night. We all agreed that modeling gratitude was the most important thing we could do to teach our kids to be grateful. I’m glad to see it at the top of your list!

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