Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
-1 Thessalonians 5:18
Like most parents, we try hard to offer more praise, encouragement, and affirmation than criticism to our kids. This can be challenging. Like adults, they have so much to learn and a strong inclination not to do so. After one particularly difficult and challenging evening last week after much lecturing and frustration about contributing and being grateful, Jessica and I settled in to cook dinner. Our oldest wandered into the kitchen and hugged my wife and mumbled. Then he hugged me and mumbled again, "thanks for getting me this far."
I was struck by his gesture and his little heart that generated it. I wondered to myself if I had thanked enough people this week and if my prayer life had recently included that sentiment. I had earlier in the week attended both a church preschool graduation and a public high school graduation. At the former, there was a strong emphasis on gratitude to the parents and teachers and of course, to God. At the latter, I listened to three of their top grads give speeches. They lauded the student body and its accomplishments. But I never heard them thank their teachers, faculty, coaches, parents, or administrators who have made it one of the top schools in the state and nation. The difference was glaring. Gratitude.
When JCPC celebrated our graduates a few weeks ago, I saw proud parents and mentors. They all stepped forward and surrounded our grads to show them love once more in the laying on of hands and prayer. I know how grateful these kids are for the love they've received and the encouragement and challenges. We've all had those people and moments. This week, I encourage you to write a letter or make a call to your mentors and supporters, parents and coaches and teachers. Thank them. And do some reflection. Are you showing gratitude by offering that same guidance to someone else now? And have you said a prayer to the one who gives us parents and mentors? Have you said, "thanks for getting me this far?"