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     Cindy Short and Sue Welch, editors

Table of Contents
Teaching Thankfulness, Part 1
     The Character Qualities of Joy
     Teaching About Thankfulness
     "To Be Thankful, You Must Be Thoughtful"
     "Count Your Blessings"
      *  Thanksgiving Tree
      *  Continue All Year Long
      *  Your Family Thanksgiving Service
Teaching Thankfulness, Part 2 (Next Issue)
     Providing Examples of Thankfulness
     Establishing the Habit of Thankfulness
     Practicing Thankfulness
          Thanking God
          Thanking Others
Recommended Resources
     Singing Is Easy!
     Elsie Dinsmore and Millie Keith Dolls
     Janome Sewing Machines
     Christian Liberty Academy School System
     Christian Adventure DVDs
     Replica Victorian Samplers
Sunnyside Up: Humorous Anecdote


     Our celebration of the Thanksgiving holiday can be a
reminder and impetus to teach our children the important
character quality of thankfulness.  In fact, we can make
thanksgiving a way of life, not just a one-day event.

     Gratitude is related to the character quality of joy.  A
life of thankfulness is a life of joy!

     May your family enjoy a time of rejoicing as you contemplate
and thank God for the blessings that He has heaped upon us,
praising Him for Who He is and thanking Him for what He has done.

     Oh give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name;
          Make known His deeds among the peoples.
     Sing to Him, sing praises to Him;
          Speak of all His wonders.
     Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
          For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
     1 Chronicles 16:7-9; 34

Cindy Short and Sue Welch, Sisters and Co-Editors
The Pat Welch Family, Publishers
Pat, Sue, Heather, Holly, and Brian

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Teaching Your Children To Be Thankful
     Thankfulness is an attitude, an attribute, even a worldview.
If your child adopts a grateful mindset and maintains it
throughout his life it will contribute to your child's:

 *  Relationships with the Lord and others.

 *  Happiness; causing him to be content with what he has and
     not complain about what he doesn't have.

     Thankfulness, or gratitude, is part of a group of the following
related character qualities:

The Character Qualities of Joy

1.  Contentment
     "Choosing to be satisfied and at peace with what God has
provided, without complaining."
 *  Also: cheerfulness, hope, peace.
 *  See I Tim. 6:5, 6, 8; Phil. 4:11; Heb. 13:5.

2.  Gratitude
     "Recognizing, appreciating, and acknowledging favors or
 *  Also: appreciation, gratefulness, thankfulness.
 *  See Eph. 5:19-20; Col. 2:6-7; I Tim. 4:4-5; I Thess. 5:18.

3.  Joyfulness
     "Delighting in the service and presence of God regardless of
 *  Also: zeal, enthusiasm, heartiness, eagerness.
 *  See Ps. 100:2; Rom. 12:11; Prov. 15:13; Ps. 35:9.

4.  Patience
     "Steadily enduring affliction, persevering in a difficult
task, or waiting calmly for a desired end."
 *  Also: endurance, perseverance, persistence, firmness.
 *  See Heb. 12:4-11; II Tim. 2:3-7; James 1:12; 5:8; I Cor. 16:13.

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Teaching About Thankfulness
     Thankfulness needs to be taught.  It does not come naturally
to fallen human beings.

1.  Teach What Thankfulness Means
     Start by explaining the following to your children.  This
provides direction and motivation for your study of this topic.

 *  What gratitude or thankfulness is and how and why it is a
     part of the character quality of Joy.

 *  Why it pleases and honors God.
     "Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice
of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks
to His name" Hebrews 13:15.

 *  How it will make them, and those around them, joyful.

2.  Teach What God Says about Thankfulness
     You might want to do this during your regular daily Bible
and devotional time.  Depending on the time you want to take and
the age of your children, address all four qualities of joy (see
above) at once, or just one or two each day.

 *  Read and discuss the material presented above on Joy.

 *  Look up and read the scriptures suggested for each
characteristic.  Using a concordance, look up other

 *  God commands us to be thankful.
     "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which
indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful"
Colossians 3:15.

 *  Consider the results of unthankfullness in Romans 1:21:
     "For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as
God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations,
and their foolish heart was darkened."

 *  For further study see our "Bible Unit Study for Thanksgiving
     Week: Praising God for Who He Is; Thanking God for What
     He Has Done" at

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3.  Memorize Scriptures.
     Memorize, review, and meditate on specific verses or
passages related to thankfulness.  See those given above or
use those selected from your own study.
     In our Bible Unit Study for Thanksgiving Week (see above),
it is suggested that your family hold hands around the Thanksgiving
table and:

 *  Quote Psalm 100 (or your selected memory verse).

 *  Sing "Old Hundredth" (or another appropriate hymn or chorus).

 *  This tradition can be expanded for every day of the year.
     When growing up, our family held hands and sang "Thank You,
Lord" before prayer at dinner every day.

4.  Talk about Thankfulness in the Context of Daily Living.
     Throughout the day there are a multitude of opportunities
for your children to hear you say aloud, "Thank you, Lord,
for . . ." or for you to talk about something for which you are

     You shall teach them diligently to your children,
          and shall talk of them when you sit in your house,
          when you walk by the way,
          when you lie down, and when you rise up.
          Deuteronomy 6:5-7

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"To Be Thankful, You Must Be Thoughtful"
     This is what our father taught his large family of 11 children.
It is easy to take for granted the many gifts that God has given to
us unless we stop and think about them.

1.  Examples of Others
     One way to think about your own blessings is to consider
those who have less, as articulated in the proverb "I complained
because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet."

     In America today we can find many people that have more than
we do.  This tends to make us and our children discontent.  In
fact, the secular media's featuring of the rich and famous,
combined with commercials that are intended to make you crave
more, is a good reason to turn off your TV for good.

     On the other hand, your family will not need to look far to
find those around you that have far less than you do in terms
of physical, family, and spiritual blessings.

2.  Our Response
     Besides providing a reminder to be thankful, let these
examples prompt a practical compassion in your family as you find
ways to share your blessings with them.

 *  The best blessing you can share is the good news of God's
     love and forgiveness.

 *  Especially at Thanksgiving and Christmas times, rescue
     missions appreciate gifts that enable them to provide a meal for
     the homeless.

 *  Look for someone in your church that doesn't have family
     nearby and invite them to share your Thanksgiving feast or
     other meals with you.

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3.  Thanks for What We Do Have
     The example of looking at a glass of water as being either
half empty or half full illustrates the two ways that we can view
our life.  Teach your children:

 *  Instead of dwelling on your problems, look at your blessings
     and thank the Lord for them.

 *  Instead of looking at how bad a situation is, look at how much
     worse it could have been and thank the Lord for that.

4.  Other Examples

*  Geography and History
     Give your children the big picture of the whole world and
all of history in order for them to understand that we enjoy an
unequaled level of physical blessings.

*  Current Events
     Even a cursory view of current world events (read the headlines
at if you have turned off your TV) will
provide plenty of reasons to be thankful that we live in peace and

*  Eternity
     Man's utter and eternal hopelessness without Christ and our
blessedness in Him provide ample grounds for our thankfulness for
salvation and other spiritual blessings!
     "But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love
with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our
transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you
have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with
Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages
to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in
kindness toward us in Christ Jesus" Eph. 2:4-7

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"Count Your Blessings"
     There are many ways to do this each day; the following are a
few suggestions for Thanksgiving Day.

1.  Thanksgiving Tree
 *  Draw a leafless tree on a piece of butcher paper or
     posterboard.  (You can also open up a paper grocery bag to use
     as a large piece of paper.)
 *  Cut out leaves from colored paper and write (or have young
     children draw) something for which you are thankful on each leaf.
 *  Tape or glue them to the tree.

2.  Continue All Year Long
 *  Decorate a box or basket to hold notes of thanksgiving.
 *  Add to notes all year long and review them next Thanksgiving.

3.  Your Family Thanksgiving Service
     After your Thanksgiving feast, gather your family and friends
for a time of:
 *  Singing hymns and songs of praise
 *  Recounting to each other the blessings of the Lord
 *  Thanking Him together in prayer
 *  Reading or quoting Bible verses or passages on thankfulness
     and God's blessings.

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Sunnyside Up: Age Does Wonders
     My husband's 30th birthday was fast approaching, and our two
girls and I worked hard on what we could do to make this day
special for Papa.
     I took our girls, Jennifer, 5, and Jessica, 3, into town to
buy a present. As we traveled along, Jennifer became very
thoughtful and asked, "Will Papa still be our Papa?"
     This took me by surprise, and all I could think of to say
was, "Who else would he be?"
     Jennifer replied, "I thought he would be our grandpa now!"
     Submitted by Johnna W., Guatemala.

God Loves You.
     Because we have been separated from God by sin, Jesus
Christ died in our place, then rose to life again.  If we trust Jesus
Christ as our Savior and Lord, He will give us eternal life.
     "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that
not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of
works, that no one should boast" (Ephesians 2:8, 9).

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