Tag Archives: character building

An Attitude of Thankfulness

When my oldest was small, the Veggie Tales movies were just starting to be produced. One of my favorites is Madame Blueberry. In the video, Junior Asparagus sings this chorus:

Because a thankful heart is a happy heart!
I’m glad for what I have,
That’s an easy way to start!

For the love that He shares,
‘Cause He listens to my prayers,
That’s why I say thanks every day!

I remember thinking how great the lyrics were — so simple, yet so true. I would sing them with my kids, hoping that they would always remember to have a thankful heart.

And then they grew older. While they still enjoy watching Veggie Tales on occasion, now they watch other movies too. We don’t sing the song anymore, and sadly, somewhere among the ever-improving technology and the peer pressure, they forgot how to have a thankful heart. These days, they tell me about all of the things they don’t have — all the gadgets, the clothing, the furniture, the toys — that if I would just buy it for them, life would be much better. But I know that’s not true, and I’ve told them so; over and over and over, I’ve told them so.

And then I wondered — have I had a thankful heart lately? “Be thankful!” I say, while I go through the day exasperated and irritated. Have they seen contentment in me?

I am so thankful for my children — for their personalities, their strengths, their quirks, their thoughts, their talents, their character, their callings — but how often do I tell them? I have to admit, it’s been a while since I mentioned how proud I am of them, or how much I appreciate them. So this Thanksgiving season, I’m going to do more than just tell them to have a thankful heart — I’m going to show them mine.

A Good Cause

Last week, a friend of mine who heads up a group for field trips and celebrations organized a yard sale for the kids. The children gathered toys, books, household items, and more for the sale. But instead of working the sale for profit, my friend wanted to make it a fundraiser for a worthy cause.

There are so many needs, and so many good causes, but she wanted to find something that would be meaningful to the children and closer to home. I told her about my niece and her husband who are in the process of adopting a baby from Africa, hopefully later this year, and we decided to raise the funds for them. I gave my friend their photo and a letter about their family to post at the sale.

Due to a prior commitment, we weren’t able to be there for most of the sale and could only stop by towards the end. The day was hot, and the crowd was small, but the effort was amazing, as my son would say. Besides gathering items for the sale, families made cupcakes and lemonade and brought bottled water along to sell too. And all this for a family that they didn’t know, all to help bring a little girl to her new home. How neat it was to see the children so excited about doing something totally for the benefit of someone else.

One of the reasons we homeschool is for character education — I want my children to grow up to be honest, compassionate, dependable, generous, responsible adults. Yet often, in the rush of school assignments and activities, it’s easy for me to overlook opportunities for building those character traits. This yard sale was one such opportunity, and, in our busyness, we couldn’t be a part of the actual sale. I thought we’d missed it again.

But as it turned out, my children didn’t miss it after all. As we were driving to the sale, my son asked why their friends would work so hard raising money for their cousin — they didn’t even know her family. We talked about that on the way, and then they saw it for themselves. They saw their friends working; they saw the drinks, the snacks, the items for sale, and the bag of money for their cousin.

They saw love in action — and it was a lesson learned.

Photo by Jane Sawyer