Something else I would like to teach my kids. I know I have not been perfect in this area and I remember clearly all the times I have not... and if I haven't, I wish I had. I hope that I can teach them the importance of saying thank you... and not just saying it, but meaning it, and having a sincere grateful heart.
The more I get to know Jesus, the more I understand that I deserve nothing. Really. Truly. All I have is a gift. A real true gift. None of it is owed to me. And certainly none of it is deserved. But, a free gift of love and gratitude is priceless, since this is the case.
I was taught to always say thank you. And to always mean it. My parents would wait until I bashfully walked up to both parents who hosted a friend's birthday party to say "thank you" and they made sure I looked any person in the eye who was checking us out at a store and say "thank you" and if I received a gift, we would sit and write out cards to say "thank you."
I am reminded now in my vocation as wife and mother that the people I need to show gratitude the most is my husband, because that in return teaches my children. We are always vocally thanking one another to show them how. I have a close friend who has a great habit of teaching her daughter to thank her daddy for working so hard at work for them. I think it makes a huge impact on those little hearts.
I still could cry because I lost the last page of my wedding gift list and around 20 of the 350 people who gave me wedding gifts did not receive a thank you. It will bother me for a lifetime...beside the point, really, but the nature of me has issue with it.
All this being said, I want to make sure my children know the importance of gratitude. Of sincere gratitude.
Recently we have had a few students withdraw from our school. I have to admit that I am deeply affected when they leave, although I know it is God's will and plan for each family to decide a way of education that is best for them... I still have put so much energy, so many hours of phone calls, so much time away from my family... and I desire so badly for a phone call, a personal thank you from them when they leave. I don't deserve it. It is a selfish desire on my part to think I deserve such a thank you because I have put so much effort into the school. But, then I remember the pure and simple and human side of us... gratitude effects others. It is a sign of love. It is a free gift given. And the human heart appreciates and experiences the love of God through it. Through my personal experience, I see how important it is from the other side.
I am sorry today for the times I have failed in this. In not taking the time to make that personal call, or write that much deserved letter. I feel as if another lost out of the chance to experience the love of God. So, today I am reminded to be a teacher of this by being a doer of this.
I hope this can be a reminder for you as well. Come, Holy Spirit, and remind us when a thank you is due so people can see the face of Christ in us.