November is a month of gratitude. Gratitude is an important lesson and one that cannot be overdone. Unlike a turkey. Those tasty birds can definitely dry out if left in the oven too long!
This Family Night lesson is about thinking to thank. It just takes a moment to stop and express thanks. It is as easy as that. Expressing thanks can build relationships, bring joy, create opportunities, and strengthen character. There are many blessings that come from living a life a gratitude, but the blessing that makes me the most happy is…happiness! Happiness and gratitude go together like mashed potatoes and gravy, or, pumpkin and pie! You can’t have one without the other.
Serve up this lesson on thankfulness and watch how much more satisfying life can be when you think to thank.
Start the lesson by quoting from the Bible in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, ” In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
God asks us to give thanks. With all of the good that happens from day to day in our lives, this commandment should be an easy one to obey. God did not just ask us to “feel gratitude” but rather to “give thanks.” The difference is in the expression of the feeling. We often times feel grateful. In those moments, we should stop and voice our thanks aloud.
How can we give thanks? Talk about it as a group. Some ideas might include:
- With a written note
- By saying it to someone in person
- In a text message
- Through a phone call
- With a gift and card
- In a funny Snap Chat video message
- Paired with an act of kindness or service
There are many ways to think and thank. This idea was originally introduced by the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints in an address given in 1998. In this talk, Thomas Monson mentions three different instances where saying, “thank you” could bring about happiness and good. He counseled that we should say thank you to our parents, to a teacher or coach, and to a friend.
On a piece of paper, draw three columns. Then, add the headers to the top of the page for each of these three categories. Have your family fill in people who fit in each area. The “parents’ column will be filled pretty quickly! The other two should take a few more minutes to complete.
Let each person in the group select an individual from the list to thank. You can talk about what that person has done that you feel gratitude for and then make a plan of action on how you are going to thank them! I’d recommend doing it during your family night. Make a quick phone call. Write a note t
o slip in the mail or to tuck in a backpack to take to school. Send a nice text message to your friend. Think and thank!
Next, talk about about how these actions made you all feel. Did you feel happy when you expressed thanks?
Gratitude has been linked scientifically to happiness. The two emotions have a strong relationship. When you make a habit of feelings thanks and expressing your gratefulness in a positive way, then life tends to be more fulfilling. It makes sense right? When you focus on the good you feel good.
Print the free “Think to Thank” image to hang in your home as a reminder of the lesson and to inspire gratitude throughout the month (use your free Box.com account).
This simple activity will help to remind your family about the relationship between expressing thanks and the feeling of happiness. You can play it for a short time during your Family Night lesson, or keep it going throughout the week!
To play, give each person a sheet of smile/happy face stickers. These stickers represent happiness! When someone expresses thanks, in any form that you talked about during the lesson, then the person who received the “thank you” gives a happy face sticker back in return. Players can not place a happy face sticker onto their own body. They can only give them away as a “you’re welcome.”
Let your family voice their thanks out loud. It can be for actions from the past, or for things that happen during the game. Most will be from previous experience like “Thank you for helping me with my homework last night.” or, “Thank you for letting me wear your new jacket” or, “Thank you for making such a good dinner!”
The goal of the game is to collect as much “happiness” as you can! The more grateful you are, the more covered in happiness you become. When we are seeking for happiness it often comes from the actions and service we give to others. By expressing (giving) thanks, we get happiness in return!
It is a silly and happy game! My kids enjoyed placing stickers on each other quite a bit. I hope your family enjoys it too!
Think to thank. These three simple words can help us to be a friend, change a life, and be an influence for good in the world. It only takes a moment to say, “thank you.” This meaningful expression is considered to be one of the most powerful in the English language. When you express your thanks, it pleases God and it builds your relationships here on Earth. Remember this Thanksgiving season, to think to thank more often. Be an example of gratitude to your family and friends. If you do so, your life will be stuffed full of goodness and happiness. Just like after a Thanksgiving feast.
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