You never know what you will encounter when you babysit for a family. As a single, young teacher, I spent a week one summer babysitting for a godly family. On a prominent wall of their kitchen hung two small curio cabinets filled with boxes only a few square inches in size. Several had random contents: a slip of paper, a receipt, a key. They obviously had value due to the fact that they were set apart in this cabinet, but I didn’t know what it could be. I walked past it several times a day and became more curious about its contents.
The last day I was there, I was talking with the mother and she asked if her children had explained the odd frames on the wall. She explained to me that when they saw God moving in the life of their family, they saved a memento of it as a record of their history with God. By placing it in a prominent location in their home, the children would be reminded of God’s faithfulness and provision. When their children married and started their own families, they would take their mementos and be able to share the stories of God at work with their own children.
This family was intentional about looking for the faithfulness of God, pointing it out to their children, and remembering it. As a result, the children developed eyes to see God at work and hearts sensitive to His goodness. They also developed humility as they were reminded how God acted on their behalf when they did expect or deserve it. Ultimately, remembering provided an opportunity to teach thankfulness.
In Joshua 4, the Israelites had just crossed the Jordan River on dry land to enter the Promised Land. In verse 3, God tells the people to collect one stone from the middle of the river for each of the tribes- 12 in all. We are told why in verses 6 and 7.
“Let this be a sign among you, so that when you children ask later, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ Then you shall say to them, ‘Because the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.’ So these stones shall become a memorial to the sons of Israel forever”
Kids observe and they ask questions. When they would see the pile of rocks, the memorial stones, the children would want to know where they came from. The pile of rocks would give parents an opportunity to teach the children about the power of God working on their behalf which would lead to thankfulness.
Psalm 100:4 says this:
“Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him, bless His name.”
The very next verse tells us why:
“For the LORD is good;
His Lovingkindness is everlasting
And His faithfulness to all generations.”
If we want to teach our children to be thankful, we need to open their eyes to the works of God and model thankfulness for them. We can start by asking them what they want to thank God for. We can tell them what we thank God for and point to what we see God doing in the life of our family. We can dialogue with them about how God reveals Himself in creation.
Even preschoolers can learn to tell God “Thank you.” In our family, our children learned to pray, not by asking God to do things, but by telling Him thank you for the components of their world. As they got older, we began talking with them before prayer time to help them think about what they wanted to thank God for. It’s easy, even with older children, to talk about what God has done before you pray.
Things to consider:
~Do you model thankfulness?
~Psalm 145:4 says “One generation shall praise your works to another, And shall declare your mighty acts.” Are you participating in this? Can you retell occurrences of the movement of God in prior generations? Are you telling the next generation how God has acted?
~Today, create a memorial stone by telling someone what God has done in your life. Tell how He called you into relationship with Him, how He provided, or healed you.
*All Scripture taken from NASB
About the Author: Jenifer Kitchens is a graduate of Union University, a full time wife and homeschooling mother, and a passionate writer and teacher who desires to glorify her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Jenifer lives in TN with her husband and two daughters. Follow her at Dirtydishwaterholyhands.wordpress.com