In this month of Thanksgiving here are some ways to help our young people celebrate Thanksgiving and develop a gratitude habit which can change their lives.
- Do a “Psalm Search,” listing the things for which the psalmist was grateful (Psalms 138; 139:13-18, 103; 104; 63; 75; 65:10-14; 105:1-5; 107; 111; 118; 136). Choose one psalm, rewrite it in contemporary language; illustrate it.
- Children/youth can be asked - during a prayer service - to think of someone who has done something for them. The following pledge is filled out and signed: “When I get home, I will call or write (name) to say thanks for what that act meant to me. (Signature)” During the prayer service, the cards are collected and a prayer of thanks is offered for the contributions that family, friends, church and community members make to the lives of the children.
- Invite the children to keep a gift list, keeping track of gifts received. Help them to include all the kindnesses that have been done for them. Help them to recognize the gifts that come in disguise, too. Some things that might start out as painful experiences can be, in time, recognized as gifts.
- Help children design a set of thank-you note cards to send to people who usually go unnoticed.
- Invite children/youth to list people to whom they want to say thanks. Write a prayer asking God to bless them. Encourage the children to pray the prayer daily, mentioning the people by name.