Create a Family Culture of Gratitude

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Our culture rarely encourages us toward grateful hearts. On the contrary, the advertising that bombards us typically builds the case that our life is missing something and that we should feel bad about it. When we count all that we are missing and it seems like others around us have an easier life, thankfulness can be hard. Listen to this mother wrestle between a difficult financial situation and maintaining faithful gratitude.



When we focus on the ways that God has blessed us, instead of the other things we wish were different, it orients us toward gratitude. Psychology professor, author and mother Kristen Howerton works hard at teaching thankful hearts to her family and building up a home culture of gratefulness. Listen to her share some of their practices in this video.


1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)

16Rejoice always,17pray without ceasing,18give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



Kristen's advice for cultivating gratitude landed in four areas
  • Gratitude Journal
  • Family Affirmations
  • Perspective Building Experiences
  • Constant Verbal Thanks

She mentioned practicing gratitude at the dinner table more than once. How can your family incorporate thankfulness into taking regular meals together?
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How will cultivating an attitude of gratefulness increase your ability to take joy in that which is disappointing and difficult?
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What are some good perspective building experiences that your family can engage? How will you all do these things, and how will you use it to teach the value of thankfulness?
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Make a list of the things that you have been consistently thinking about buying over the past two or three months, then take some time to access the need for each. Do you want these things because they will be of good use to your and your family, or is your desire built on an ungodly discontent? Use this exercise to come up with a conclusion about your own gratefulness.
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If you want to teach thankfulness to your children, the first and best thing you can do is to get thankful yourself. Model a grateful heart for the small things you do one for one another and to the Lord for the many blessings that He has given.