Family Gratitude Strategies

Philippians 4:6-7 - Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus

There is now replicated data extra-Biblical underwriting the importance of implementing gratitude into family life. The Bible has long held gratitude / thankfulness to be crucial, encouraging & even commanding gratitude, first to God, then out to fellow image bearers here among us. In fact, gratitude is considered to be a meta-theme of the entire Bible, showing up more often than other concepts or virtues.

Years back, one of the students of the great Dr. Dallas Willard, Dr. Robert Emmons undertook the most extensive series of academic studies on gratitude ever. Emmons wanted to see if the Bible's preoccupation with gratitude had a quantifiable/measurable impact on human flourishing/happiness. His findings were so impressive that Harvard and Yale's respective medical schools have replicated many of his team's findings. The results of Emmon's multimillion dollar, years-long investigation are featured in his books Thanks and the academic version The Psychology of Gratitude

Minimally, parents should be modellign & encouraging verbiage of gratitude. Emmons says expressing gratitude is a crucial first step in becoming more Biblically thankful people. Second, this encouragement of vocal recognition of blessings should be followed with concrete activities of appreciation to others.

Conversely, language of envy, entitlement and ingratitude must be identified and arrested immediately. Emmons also commends parents to be mindful when there has been a long time in family interactions without any attempt at thanksgiving and to correct course.

The experience of gratitude can be complicated and, like any skill, may take practice, reflection, and time. Let me leave everyone with the helpful graphic from Emmons' team about some of the benefits of a intentionally thankful life...

Grace and Peace to you

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