“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.”
In less than a month, my husband and I will welcome our first grandchild. In anticipation, we have had several reflective conversations about lessons we learned from parenting. One of my favorites is the value of fostering a thankful heart. Thankfulness is a precursor to peace, and peace produces joy.
One afternoon, our oldest daughter was discouraged and grumpy. As I listened, I knew that as much as I wanted to change the circumstances contributing to her feelings, I could not. Silently, I prayed for wisdom and discernment, and I felt led to try an experiment. Gradually, I shifted the focus of our conversation to what we could be thankful for in the situation. Her countenance changed, and the gratitude she felt led to discussions about what she could do for others. The experiment was so successful, that it became a habit in our home to redirect each other toward gratitude whenever anxiety, frustration, disappointment, or negativity surfaced. The peace that resulted from learning to point each other toward thankfulness was transformational in our home, and the spirit of joy that comes from a grateful heart opened opportunities to bless others.
It is easy in today’s world to be distracted and discouraged by problems, but the Thanksgiving season is an excellent time to renew our commitment to pursue gratitude. As you add to your parenting toolbox, consider the continual pursuit of a thankful heart. The blessings of the peace of Christ are immeasurable.
Head of Academy