“Let us be thankful for the fools,” wrote Mark Twain. “But for them the rest of us could not succeed.”
Is there more to thankfulness than this rather cynical view expressed by one of America’s most beloved humorists?
Yes, say a cadre of kids with some rather remarkable ways to apply the apostle’s mandate to give thanks in everything.
“When I broke my jaw, I am glad I didn’t die,” says Jordan, age 9. “When my friend broke his leg, I am glad he didn’t break three bones instead of two. When I burst open my head, I am glad I didn’t break my head.”
Jordan, I hope you and your friends don’t break the cash reserves of your health insurance company.
Another Jordan, 8, has found a way to be grateful for asthma: “I don’t have it all the time.” Jordan is also thankful for her sister. “She is annoying, but I love her.”
Don’t wait for something spectacular to express gratitude, says Dorothy, 8: “I give thanks that I’m here today. I can give thanks that I’m able to be there to help my mom in her time of need.” Dorothy, I think your mom is grateful for your helpful spirit.
“You can also thank God before you eat,” says Justin. “Give us this day our daily bread” is a prayer Jesus taught his disciples.
Some kids may think it’s hard to give thanks for certain meals. However, Stephen, 7, says, “If you have some spinach or some food you don’t like, just think of all the people who would like to have that food.”
Believe it or not, a third Jordan, 8, has found reasons to give thanks: “You can give thanks for everything by looking at the best of everything, by praying and by singing his praises.”
Stick with the three P’s of providence, prayer and praise, and you’ll never allow bitterness to take root in your heart. An attitude of gratitude sees even adverse circumstances as part of God’s greater plan for character development.
If you’ve trusted the Lord Jesus as your savior, be grateful that the God who created this universe has accepted you into his glorious kingdom. Hold up the shield of faith to quench the fiery darts of ingratitude, doubt and anger that can ruin the peace to which God has called you.
Leah, 10, explains how providence and praise work together: “You should be thankful in the good times that God has given you something good to praise him about. You should be thankful in the bad times because he has given you a chance to trust him.”
Praise is a form of thanksgiving, but just how do you praise? “We can sing everywhere we go and just praise the Lord for what he has done,” says Rachel, 8.
I have a friend in Ventura, California, who taught me how to praise. As a senior citizen past retirement age, Fran Rigoli is no longer a youngster, but he sings like one. Walking on the beach, eating breakfast or driving to the grocery store, it doesn’t matter. Fran sings his way through life. And why shouldn’t he?
Point to ponder: Give thanks in all things because God loves you unconditionally.
Scripture to remember: “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive” (John 7:38-39).
Question to consider: Can you think of an adverse situation for which you can give thanks?
Kids Talk About God is designed for families to study the Bible together. Research shows that parents who study the Bible with their children give their character, faith and spiritual life a powerful boost. To receive Kids Talk About God three times a week in a free, email subscription, visit www.KidsTalkAboutGod.org/email.