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Taking Off Discontentment and Putting on Gratitude

Give thanks to the LORD for He is good. -Psalm 118:1

Three years ago, I prayed for creativity in developing an attitude of gratitude in my children for the month of November, and God answered my prayers. It has now become a tradition in our home.

At the beginning of the month, I go to the bank and get $40 in quarters. I put $10 of quarters in each of four cups and place them on the dining room hutch, one cup for each of my older boys and one for me.

During the month, when one of my sons complains, he takes a quarter from his cup and puts it into my cup. Whenever I complain, I put a quarter in each of their cups, so I lose THREE quarters every time I complain! This really helps me with my tendency to be critical and negative. It humbles me to acknowledge how often I am tempted to complain.

At the end of the month, we each count up our quarters. I take my quarters and divide them by three, and add them to each boy's quarters.

Then, this is the fun part! They don't keep their quarters for themselves, to buy something or save up their money. They get to decide how to use the quarters to show their thankfulness to God! They learn that the more thankful they are, the more they have to give to God. I love brainstorming with the boys and seeing their unique passions come out.

Here are a few of the things they have chosen to do with the money:

  • buy diapers and clothings for babies in need at our local pregnancy center

  • purchase chickens for a family through Samaritan's Purse

  • donate to send Bibles through The Gideons International

  • give money to a local missionary

  • give offering at our church

  • buy toys for kids in need

This is part of how we are taking off discontentment and putting on gratitude. The other part develops thankfulness through a "thankful chart." We put a BIG piece of paper (or tape lots of paper together) and put it up in the dining room, along with markers. We write things for which we are thankful all month long, around the Bible verse Psalm 118:1. We are reminded of how good God is!

I love seeing what the boys come up with. It's seldom the materialistic things that matter to them, but people and experiences. When we are intentional about being thankful, we see more things for which we can be thankful! It develops this habit in our lives, to be thankful for all things. We learn to find contentment in the simple moments of life. We discover how good God is to us.

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