As we enter into a new season of the year, it is a great time to remind our students --and ourselves--of the ways God has blessed them throughout this year. Whether your school or religious ed. program has a year ending Mass or simply a “last day” before convening for the summer, use it to teach a very valuable lesson. . . being grateful to God. Here are some possible ideas.

1. Some teachers have students pass on prayer requests that the class prays for together. One way to recognize God’s hand in their lives is to keep track of these prayers and what became of the situations. Another is to simply list in some form specific events that happened and how that helped them grow in their faith. Always point out how God has worked in their lives and how much we owe Him our gratitude.

2. If your program has a year-ending Mass, use the introduction of the Mass, the Prayer of the Faithful, or the time that the gifts are brought up, to express thankfulness for the school books and building, remembering all those schools in our own country who have sustained damage due to tornadoes, floods and fires in the last year.

3. Be thankful for the opportunity to gather and learn about Jesus in a safe environment, remembering those who have suffered at the hands of terrorists and enduring school shootings in our own country as well as in other countries.

4. Thank God for the opportunity to use our time and talents to help those in need. Mention or showcase projects taken on in the last year that helped victims of illness, poverty or natural disasters.

5. Lastly, show gratitude for the friendships that have formed in the past year. All of us need peer support in our walk with Christ and it is a wonderful thing to be able to attend a Catholic environment and find that. Friends Are Friends Forever is a moving song to sing as the school year comes to a close.

The main point to make is that it was God’s year, with all His blessings and to be amazingly grateful for all He gave us. Gratitude seems to be a forgotten virtue among Americans who receive far more than they earn or deserve. Children are no exception. It is wonderful way to wrap up a year and teach an important lesson as well. All that we have is certainly from the hand of our maker and as good stewards we must recognize and be thankful.