Thanksgiving Provides an Opportunity to Teach our Children Gratitude

By Dean of Students, Mr. Michael Orange

I love the fall season! So many of my favorite things happen during this time of the year. I also enjoy the cool, crisp nights warmed by hot chocolate, cozy blankets and warm memories of times spent with loved ones. Since 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln declared a national day of Thanksgiving to be held every November, our country has set aside a time to focus on giving thanks for our many blessings. 


Here at Troy Christian Schools gratitude is one of our core values. We consistently encourage our students, faculty and staff to develop and maintain a heart and attitude of gratitude. This week Dr. Wilber has led devotions with our staff, focusing on this very topic. He quoted a book that he has read, which stated that, “Gratitude unexpressed is ingratitude.” It is great to feel thankful, but gratitude is an emotion meant to be expressed. If not, it is a gift bought but never given; an encouragement that never encourages; a lake to which water flows in but never out, leading to stagnation.

Gratitude unexpressed is ingratitude.


Next week we will celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. Recently our country has been overrun with negativity. I am concerned that we, as a nation, find it too easy to express dislike, disgust, and even hatred; while struggling to say a word of thanks, appreciation and kindness. I think that it is especially important this year to help remind our children of the many blessing provided by God our Father. We are privileged to live in the freest nation on the planet, abundant in resources and opportunity. With all the negativity that we are exposed to, I pray that Christians will demonstrate true thankfulness to our culture, as a testimony of God’s goodness to us.


The Bible says in I Thessalonians 5:18, “in all things give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ.” Notice that it does not say give thanks in the good things, the victories, and the joys of life alone, but in ALL things. God is involved in every part of our lives. He is sovereign in every aspect. Sometimes he can he found more easily in difficulties than in triumphs, as we see his loving hands reach to us in affliction. Last night my son called me. He had gotten back to his place of employment after a long day of hard work, only to find that he had a flat tire. No place was open to get a repair, so he called me for a ride home. As we rode to his house, he was understandably discouraged by his circumstances. I reminded him to give thanks in all things. While it didn’t immediately change his situation, it did remind him that God is sovereign and will provide for him in his time of need.

The Bible says in I Thessalonians 5:18, “in all things give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ.” Notice that it does not say give thanks in the good things, the victories, and the joys of life alone, but in ALL things. God is involved in every part of our lives. He is sovereign in every aspect.


Think of thankfulness like a tree. Is it a “fruit issue” or a “root issue”? The genuine expression of thankfulness (fruit) comes from a heart of gratitude (root). Scripture says that, “…for out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). As parents, it is important to develop in our children hearts of gratitude. When the root of a heart that is thankful develops in them, they will be able to produce the fruit of thankfulness to God, who is the author of all blessing. They will also be a blessing to others, as they express gratitude to those whom the Lord uses in their lives as a source of his blessing.


So, my prayer for you and your family, as we look towards the Thanksgiving holiday, is that you would be blessed with the richness of time spent with family and friends. I also pray that you express your thankfulness to others, not just feel thankful for them. Make wonderful memories that will last a lifetime. God is good!