Teaching Our Kids Gratitude


If I were to ask you what Jesus’ most famous miracle was during His public ministry, what would you say? The answer is the feeding of the 5,000. Objectively, it’s the most famous because it’s in all four Gospels. It’s read every year during the mass. It has a lot to do with gratitude and the way that we need to approach what God has given us. We need to look at what we’ve been gifted with to see His presence in our lives and to see the ways that He’s blessing us.

The problem at the beginning of the story. You could say it’s that there are a lot of people without food. But what’s going on with the disciples is that instead of them focusing on what they have, they’re focusing on what they want or what they think they need. If they would just take a look around them and see what they’ve already been given. Seeing that they’ve been blessed with these five loaves and two fish, but more importantly see who they have been blessed with, that Jesus is in their midst. If they did this, they would see there is really no problem at all.

And that is where gratitude begins. We need to look and see what we already have. We as Catholics, as Christians, have been blessed in so many ways because Christ dwells among us. In the Eucharist, in one another, through our prayer, there are all these ways that God comes to us and He dwells with us. That should be the source of so much gratitude, but often we are too busy being focused on things that we want or things that we think we need.

Let what God has blessed you with be enough. Let His gifts in your life be enough. Let His presence be enough.

If we would just take a moment to look and see that God is present with us, to see the ways that He is already blessed us, we can operate and move forward with a spirit of gratitude instead of a spirit of grasping or a spirit of despair. I know a lot of the time we fall into this attitude of comparing what other people have with what we seem to not have. We feel ungrateful for the gifts we have because we want what someone else has. Let what God has blessed you with be enough. Let His gifts in your life be enough. Let His presence be enough. He has blessed us abundantly but so often we overlook these things and we dismiss them. We need to take stack of what we have.

During this miracle in John’s Gospel, it says Jesus takes the gifts there (the bread and the fish) and it says “when He had given thanks, He then distributed them.” So Jesus takes the little that is present there and gives it up to God and thanks Him for that because He knows that from this littleness, this gift of what has already been given, that God is going to bless and give to all those who are there.

This is what it means to be thankful. This is what it means to live with a spirit of gratitude. We need to look at the gifts that God has given us and we need to give thanks for them. We need to teach our children and model for them what this looks like. We might feel hopeless or have despair, but we need to look at the way God is present in our lives and what we have to be grateful for. Ask your children to name what they are most grateful for. Let your children know you are grateful for them. This can transform the way we live. It can transform our holiday season and it can bring us hearts of gratitude. Through gratitude God brings blessing. That’s where peace and joy comes, and that’s where He wants to dwell and wants to start: within our hearts with a spirit of gratitude.

From all of us at Ablaze Ministries, Happy Thanksgiving!

[tweetthis]This Thanksgiving, show your kids how to have hearts of gratitude.[/tweetthis]

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