Saturday, November 25, 2017

Like a Pattern: Teaching gratitude to our children

Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.
—Deuteronomy 6:7 NLT

The morning air was chilly and the wind howled outside my window, but inside I was cozy, propped up in bed, pillows behind me and a warm quilt thrown over my legs. I sipped hot coffee as I read from Jesus Calling: “A thankful attitude opens windows of heaven. Spiritual blessings fall freely onto you through those openings into eternity. Moreover, as you look up with a grateful heart, you get glimpses of Glory through those windows” (Young 341).

Pausing to ponder those words so fitting on the day before Thanksgiving, I heard footsteps from somewhere else in the house, a sound quite unusual in my home occupied solely by myself. The steps grew louder as they approached my bedroom. The door flew open and my four-year-old granddaughter, Layla, padded to my bed.

“Good morning, Grandma,” she said sleepily, as she climbed up.

“Good morning!” I threw back the quilt so she could slide in, then snugged it around us.

“I like your blanket,” she noted.

“Thank you! I do too. My grandma made this quilt for me a long time ago. Do you see the pattern?” I pointed to the squares, “See the bow tie here and there and there.”

“Uh-huh,” she said slowly, surveying the colorful pattern. “Sometimes Papi wears a bow tie. But bow ties can be different.”

“You’re right, there are different kinds of bow ties. Bows can be tied to wear in your hair too, and bows can be tied around a gift,” I smiled, as I heard my own words.

There was my granddaughter wrapped up in a quilt with bows all over it. A gift. A glimpse of Glory.

It wasn’t hard to be thankful in that moment with the blessing beside me. But can we always be grateful? Can we teach our children the same?

The Bible admonishes us to talk about God’s precepts. “Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up” (Deuteronomy 6:7).

God wants us to teach our children to commit to Him wholeheartedly. We can do this by talking about His pattern of faithfulness in our own lives. Just as I pointed out the bow ties in the quilt, we can point out those times when God provided, protected, and healed: “See, He was here and there and there.”

When we look back at our life as a whole and see how all the pieces, both good and bad, fit together as beautifully as a quilt, it isn’t hard to look up with a grateful heart.

And when we share that gratitude with our children, the pattern is sure to continue.

Dear Father, Thank You for Your immense love shown in the gift of Your one and only Son for our salvation. Thank You for the gift of family—for grandparents and grandchildren and all the generations in between. Thank You for Your abiding presence in my life. May I be ever faithful in repeating the story again and again. Amen.

Young, Sarah. Jesus Calling. Thomas Nelson, 2004.


  1. Amen I totally agree. I also want to say dont get discouraged if the child doesnt seem to respond. You are planting that seed that may take years and years to grow.

  2. You are absolutely right, Tammy. We must not grow weary in well doing, for in due season we will reap a harvest (Gal. 6:9). Thank you for your encouraging words!

  3. Beautiful as time, days and years pass the glory of love from those hearts will carry on.
    Thank you


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