We’re all aware it’s November and you know what that means… pilgrims, turkeys, and lots of talk about Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving has always been a meaningful holiday for me, but the importance really sunk in when we started a family. As parents we knew we wanted to raise children who were grateful, children whose attitudes were a reflection of their heart. There’s a quote about attitude that always stops me in my tracks…
“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.” – Charles R. Swindoll quote
I’m typically a glass half full kinda gal. But from time to time pessimism sneaks in… I get cynical… I complain. Just last week I was grumbling about having to balance the checkbook when I’m well aware we are blessed to have money to manage. My husband further whipped me back into shape when he kindly asked in a recent message, “When has your pessimism and cynicism ever changed anything?”
That’s so true… pessimism and cynicism never change anything. When has my bad attitude ever positively impacted anyone around me? When has my grumbling and fussing caused substantial change?
It causes me to wonder why do we spend so much time complaining when we have been stamped with Hope?
So how does this relate to our children? Our kids are bombarded with information… and we’re all aware a lot of the information isn’t positive, isn’t life-giving. Learning to express our gratitude, at times, takes intentionality. On a regular basis it seems more natural in our world to drift into an attitude of negativity rather then to push through to a heart of appreciation… of thankfulness.
Recently our church launched a #BetterDaysChallenge that our entire family decided to participate in. At the end of each day we think of three things we’re thankful for and share those with each other. Usually it happens at the dinner table or driving down the road, but I’ve been so happy with some of my children’s answers. They’re not just “copying” our answers, they’re being intentional to think about what they can appreciate around them. Sometimes that answers range from “recess” to “glad mom didn’t make us eat salad at dinner” but they’re choosing to look at life with an appreciation, with an attitude that will spur them into a heart of gratefulness. As a family we’re choosing not to follow the bad news of the world that’s publicized all around us but to focus on the Hope of Christ… even in the small things like “not eating salad.” One of the greatest gifts we might be able to give our children is helping them see the beauty of life, the blessings of their heavenly Father. Steering them in a direction where they find value in the small things and can handle disappointment with optimism and hope.
Brandi is a wife to Pete and a mom to Jett, Gage, and Brewer. Her life is truly “Brandi & Boys.” Brandi has been a pastor’s wife for almost 15 years. She and her husband planted Cross Point Church in Nashville, Tennessee in 2002. Brandi has a heart for women in ministry and co-leads a ministry for pastors’ wives at LeadingandLovingIt.com. Brandi loves to be organized, but hates to clean and ice cream is her favorite food.