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Tag Archives: Thankfulness

Manners Anyone?

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”           (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

The words “thank you” seem so simple, but they mean so much to the recipient. Thanksgiving would be a great opportunity to thank God for all the things we so often take for granted, and a good time to thank those who mean so much to us.

While growing up with my grandparents, I recall how they modeled good manners before me. My grandfather always opened the door for my grandmother and me when walking into stores. The basic “please” and “thank you” were a given, and I wasn’t allowed to have my elbows on the table while eating a meal. At our Thanksgiving dinner, everyone remained at the table until everyone was finished eating, and come to think of it, this was a normalcy at all our meals. I especially enjoyed the conversation that was seasoned with stories of days past (the good ‘ole days) and the thankful hearts expressed through prayer.

I recently heard a broadcast from Dr. Dobson’s Family Talk, “Teaching Girls to Be Ladies.” During the broadcast Dr. Dobson references the writings of the second President of the United States. Excerpt from the transcript: “He was not a perfect man (John Adams), but he lived by a standard of righteousness throughout his adult life. In his autobiography, Adams wrote a commentary on the subject of moral behavior, which he called “manners.” Though the language is formal and dated, I urge you to listen to these words carefully and thoughtfully. They carry great meaning for us today.”

Adams wrote, “From all that I read of history and government, of human life and manners, I have drawn this conclusion: that the manners of women are the most infallible barometer to ascertain the degree of morality and virtue in a nation. All that I’ve since read and all the observation I’ve made in different nations have confirmed me in this opinion. Manners of women are the surest criterion by which to determine whether a republican government is practicable in a nation or not. The foundations of national morality must be laid in private families. In vain are schools, academies and universities instituted if loose principles and licentious habits are not impressed upon children in their earliest years,” and this is the key sentence, “The mothers are the earliest and most important instructors of youth.”

Continued excerpt from the broadcast transcript, Teaching Girls to Be Ladies:

“Obviously human nature (refer to transcript for context) has not improved much in the past several hundred years, nor will it ever. What has changed, as I have described, is that many parents have become far too distracted, overworked and stressed out to care much about teaching morals and manners to their children. Jolene Savage, who runs the Social Graces School of Etiquette in Topeka, Kansas, says society has reached an all-time low when it comes to matters of civility. Exhausted moms and dads seem not to have noticed what has happened to their children. Clearly, instruction and civility is needed now more than ever. Getting that done, however, can be a challenge.”

Dr. Dobson also shares some personal stories of his parents modeling good manners, which are then reflected in how he treats his wife Shirley. There’s also a touching remembrance of Shirley teaching their children manners at a tea party.

To listen to or finish reading the transcript from this broadcast: https://www.drjamesdobson.org/Broadcasts/Broadcast?i=4b85e9b8-f243-4a4e-ab39-5945136e91e5

Now I’m not trying to single out girls/women in this post…it just happened to be an emphasis from the broadcast I listened to at the time I was formulating this post. I’d like to recommend two books authored by Dr. Dobson: “Bringing Up GIRLS” and “Bringing Up BOYS” These and many other family resources may be purchased at Dr. Dobson’s family talk Shop: https://direct.cornerstone.cc/FamilyTalk+Shop/category/featured

Does anyone drive with manners anymore? I totally get the whole “road rage” mentality, especially when you have people rushing around, feeling spent, and distracted by social media posts. The other day I made this confession to my book club friends. “I thought this lady was going to run into the back of my car while driving to work!” I was in the left “faster” lane, already going a little past the speed limit myself, and was trying to return to the right lane, but there was too much traffic. Somehow, the lady sped up and went around me and quickly threw her hands up in the air signaling for me to return to the slower right lane. I chuckled when she realized that we both had to slow down due to the wreck ahead of us, and we both crept along far below the speed limit.

My point is this, we are hurried people with little patience, resulting in less manners. Manners definitely need to be taught, but more importantly, they are caught by parents and other adults who model good manners. Think about it!

We had the opportunity to watch three of our grandchildren for fours days while their parents got away to intentionally renew their annual family household planning, which includes their family spiritual discipleship. (They began this ritual early in their marriage and continue to use this resource: (Making a Spiritual Discipleship Plan).https://covenantheirs.files.wordpress.com/2019/07/making-a-spiritual-discipleship-plan-new.pdf

Lights shine Bright

jack with ballWhile we enjoyed lots of play time during our grandchildren’s stay, we also made a visit to the local nursing home. Our grandchildren have made some special friends who rarely if ever have visitors. One sweet lady is close to 100. She kept telling the grands how good looking they were. All the children beamed as they said “thank you.”

Before returning to their home, my granddaughter repeatedly came up to me and said, “Thank you Nana, for all the great food (ice-cream, nightly of course!), and for all the fun we have had with you and Pappy.” During all our meals together, each child took turns praying, expressing their thankfulness to God in such humble and genuine ways.

With Christmas coming up quickly, I asked our daughter what her son had on his wish list. She said, “He told me that he doesn’t want anything because he got everything he wanted last year!” I’m thankful for his gratefulness and honest spirit.

Looking for a good holiday movie to watch? Here’s my recommendation: Christmas for a Dollar https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqjTIOAZLrU

Advent begins Sunday, December 1, 2019 – There are lots of great family devotionals to use. Here’s one and where to purchase. Creative Communications: https://www.creativecommunications.com/

And from Family Life: The Twelve Names of Christmas Ornaments https://shop.familylife.com/p-3931-the-twelve-names-of-christmas-ornaments.aspx

 

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God’s Word…Life and Truth — Give Thanks

Give Thanks

 “Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever” (Psalm 106:1).

Thanksgiving is a time to remember all the blessings in our lives.

Let’s begin now…and continue all year long.

Our daughter started a new Thanksgiving tradition last year. Their family makes a Thankful Tree. The children find a tree branch and place it in a homemade container and then cut out leaves made from construction paper. Each day the children and their parents write something they want to thank God for on a leaf and then hang the leaves on the tree branch.  — Adapted from Changing Seasons In Me, article originally written Nov. 13, 2014.

 

Jack and Julia

I’m not fond of the winter months. In fact, my wardrobe is indicative of this, having many more summer clothes than winter. My hands shiver when walking down the freezer aisle at the grocery store…in the summer!

A thankful spirit often requires a different or new perspective on life’s familiarities. Otherwise, we may find ourselves taking for granted the blessings right in front of us…our family, the changing colors of autumn, a red bird perched on a snow-covered branch, and so on. While driving home from work the other day, my husband called and told me to look outside at the beautiful sunset. I ran out on our deck, only to be disappointed I had missed the window of opportunity.

To keep our children from missing the windows of opportunity, we (parents and grandparents) have the awesome responsibility to train our children to have watchful eyes, for the many blessings we receive each day. This takes intentionality! Children and adults not fully surrendered to Christ, are naturally self-absorbed and can easily miss the joy God intends. Looking at the world through eternal lenses portrays true and lasting blessings. The following story depicts two diverse perspectives from ten men who received the same blessing.

Jesus Heals Ten Men with Leprosy – Luke 17:11-19

11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy[b] met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

After reading and contemplating the two varying responses to the lepers’ healing, ask yourself how you may have responded? Would it be more like the nine, or the one?  I’d like to propose two diverse perspectives—the temporal and the eternal.

The temporal perspective:

“The nine” cleansed lepers missed their window of opportunity to receive an even greater blessing, far beyond their physical healing. Here are a few possible reasons “the nine” didn’t go back to thank Jesus.

  • Being in isolation for so long, their minds were solely focused on returning to their former lifestyle.

  • They may have thought Jesus was simply doing what He was “supposed” to do…heal people. Therefore, they took their healing for granted.

  • Some may have said something like, “I’m sure God wants me to get busy fulfilling the plans He purposed for my life.”

The eternal perspective:

“The one” leper who came back to thank Jesus not only recognized the miraculous healing in his life, he experienced the greater blessing—the presence of a loving and merciful Savior. His perspective was filled with overflowing gratefulness, a direct result of being Christ-focused rather than self-absorbed.

The following quotes are from the book, Love Made Perfect—Foundations for the Holy Life (1997), authored by Dr. William M. Greathouse (April 29, 1919 – March 24, 2011), minister and emeritus general superintendent in the Church of the Nazarene.

“Self-love is the disease of original sin.”  “Idolatrous self-love is our sickness, but it is a sickness God wants to cure.”

To help our children develop a grateful heart like the “one leper,” I believe we must first explain that everyone is born with a sinful nature. The sinful nature will naturally dispose every human heart toward being self-absorbed. The only cure for a self-absorbed life is full surrender to Christ. I recommend reading Dr. Greathouse’s book, Love Made Perfect, for a fuller understanding of loving God with one’s whole heart, strength, and mind—a love perfected in us through Christ alone.

Secondly, we need to stop and “smell the roses.” I love this definition for the idiom “smell the roses.”

To take time out of one’s busy schedule to enjoy or appreciate the beauty of life.

Parent Challenge

Take time to thank God throughout your day. Don’t let the busyness of your schedule or life’s distractions keep you from missing out on the blessings of life. Begin by thanking God for your precious children, spouse, friends, church family, co-workers, neighbors, etc. Practice pointing out the blessings of life to your children, as you drive along the road. The changing seasons exude with God’s blessings.

My new perspective of winter:  I love sitting by a fire on a cold wintry day with my husband. Building snowmen with our grandchildren imparts cherished memories of innocent smiles and silly giggles into my heart. Christmas brings the greatest blessing of all, as our family gathers together to sing happy birthday to Jesus. God warms my heart throughout the winter.

More Traditions

Thanksgiving tablecloth. Using the same tablecloth every year, each family member writes what they are thankful for on the tablecloth. The little ones love to make turkeys as they trace around their hands. Use permanent fabric markers or pens.

Indian Corn: Our grandchildren help me place several kernels of Indian corn by each table setting. Before eating our meal everyone shares something they are thankful for and then they place a kernel of corn into a decorative basket. Our basket goes around the table several times because the children have such thankful hearts.

 wreathThe first Sunday of Advent is November 29 this year (2015). There are limitless resources available to help families prepare their hearts to celebrate Christ’s birth. The Advent wreath is one of my favorites.

Check out Christian Book.com at:

http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/easy_find?Ntt=Advent+devotionals+for+families&N=0&Ntk=keywords&action=Search&Ne=0&event=ESRCG&nav_search=1&cms=1

 

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