One of my favorite holidays is Thanksgiving. It is a time to gather with family and friends and it is always great to reconnect when loved ones live in so many different places. This is a great time to take a look at your ministry and see if you are fostering an attitude of thankfulness with your leaders, volunteers, and kids in your ministry.
One of the best ways to encourage gratitude in the kids in your ministry is to exercise gratitude in your own life. As you set the example of expressing appreciation, the people around you will want to emulate your generous attitude. Fostering gratitude in the kids that you lead becomes much more attainable when they can see your thankfulness towards others. Genuine gratitude is the goal, not simply reciting please and thank you. And it becomes incredibly difficult to teach kids something that you are not currently practicing. Taking a look at your level of gratitude is the first step in passing on a thankful attitude to kids.
Making kids feel valued is another important step to gratitude. It is very difficult to understand how to show appreciation when you do feel appreciated yourself. Creating a safe and loving environment where kids can be themselves and encounter a community of belonging will allow them to understand that they are appreciated and loved. When they can understand that they are important to you and important to the church, they will be much more inclined to understand the importance of gratitude.
Help the kids make gratitude their own. Each kid comes from different backgrounds and they need to understand what appreciation looks like for them. Asking them to think of people and things that they are thankful for helps them to understand gratitude for themselves. Sharing things that we can be thankful for in the church is a great start to creating gratitude in your ministry. There are many great ways for kids to express thankfulness, and it is important to cultivate a thankful and generous attitude all year long, not just in November.