In a book that I like there is a line that sticks in my mind. The Catholic character asks an atheist character, “Who do you thank?” The characters go on to have a discussion about how we naturally say, "Thank God!” when we hear some good new or are relieved about something.
It’s one of two good questions to put forth to our students. Not only, who do we thank, but when do we remember to thank God? How often do we ask God for help in a sticky situation and then forget to say thank you when it has been resolved? I caught myself doing this recently. I was worried about something so I uttered a quick prayer. It wasn’t a big situation, more of an inconvenience actually, but I had asked God to make it turn out okay. It was much later when I realized that things had worked out and I hadn’t even said thank you yet.
During this time of year we reflect on all the things we have to be thankful for. In my house it would be: the health of our children, the love of our family, my husband’s new job and our new puppy Isabella. This would only be the beginning of a very long list of the things we are grateful for. How can we encourage an attitude of thankfulness all year long?
1. Start a classroom prayer and answer journal. When a need arises, or someone asks for prayers about a given situation, write it down. When it becomes clear that the prayer has been answered, write that down too! It is an amazing way to see how God works in our lives.
2. Make a bouquet of things that we are thankful for. Have your students write down what they are thankful for on paper petals. Fashion these into flowers and make a bouquet to leave near the tabernacle.
3. Write down and memorize Scripture verses about giving thanks to God.
“Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his mercy endures forever.” Psalm 106:1
“Give thanks to the Lord, invoke his name; make known among the peoples his deeds.” Psalm 105:1
“I give thanks to my God always on your account for the grace of God bestowed on you in Christ Jesus...” 1 Cor. 1:4
“In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thes.5:18
“We give thanks to you, Lord God almighty, who are and who were. For you have assumed your great power and have established your reign.” Rev. 11:17
4. Write love letters to God. Have the students write down their thoughts to God. Encourage them to write as if writing to a friend and to include as much detail as possible.