It’s everywhere. Signs, pictures, and images of thankfulness, gratitude, and appreciation. My Facebook news feed is filled with beauty as friends participate in the, “30 days of thanks”. There are crafts everywhere reminding us of all the blessings we have, filled with quotes on rejoicing and being thankful. Our family even has a thankful tree that the children and I do every November. Through out the month the children will say something they are thankful for. I write it on a paper leaf and stick it to our paper tree. We have a lot of goofy answers on those leaves:)
This year, I want to take it a step a farther. In my mind, thankfulness tends to be circumstantial. It seems so easy to rattle off the list of things we are thankful for. Even if at times we aren’t truly thankful, we will feel guilt because we know that we should. We add those things to our list anyways.
I long for a heart filled with true and genuine contentment. Contentment that goes long through the thankful season. A restful, deep contentment with where God has us, rather our circumstances are on the mountain top or in the valley.
Here are some ways I am determined to teach contentment beyond the thankful season this year to my children.
1) Speak it. I constantly have to check myself. Ya see, we have this farm dream. We work very hard to achieve this dream and we talk often about our progress with our children. I have noticed myself saying, “I can’t wait until we move to our farm!” Don’t get me wrong, it’s great for me to be excited, but I have to be sure I’m not portraying that my dream must come true in order to be happy. I have to make sure I have a heart of contentment for the here and now, not always wishing for better.
2) Model it. When the day doesn’t go as planned or something falls through do we let that effect our state of happiness or thankfulness? To model contentment means we can still voice disappointments, but can also slowly turn our hearts toward acceptance of circumstance and rest in that. To show our children we are still going to tackle the day with all of the fruits of the spirit we can manage to squeeze out, giving God the rest.
3) Pray for it. Honestly, sometimes I just have to pray for a heart of contentment for me and my entire family. Thanking God for the less than perfect circumstance, so He can continue to form the heart of true contentment within us all.
Make it a year long project. Speak of these things not only at Thanksgiving and Christmas season, but all year. Talk of contentment when the flu visits, when the power goes out during a snow storm, when we have a slew of rainy days, or dreams fall apart. It’s a lifestyle, not a diet of thankful words for 30 days.
How do you teach contentment to your children?