Filled to Overflowing
Get an extra large jar or bottle and make a label that says: “I’m grateful for. . .” Over the next few weeks, have everyone put a penny in the jar when they are reminded of something for which they are grateful. Make a goal to overflow the jar within a short period of time and use the pennies to take the family out for ice cream.
Blindfold someone and set out various object for him to feel. Have him write on a piece of paper (still blindfolded) what the objects are. Let another person see all the objects and write them down. Time both people. The blindfold is ingratitude. If we’re willing to look, we will see our many blessings. When we are grateful, we can see all the tools the Lord has given us and make progress faster.
Send your family on a treasure hunt for things that represent what you personally appreciate (a picture of your family, a piece of your favorite fruit, a music box, etc.). When you are finished, point out how it was necessary to search for the blessings, have everyone recognize where the blessings came from, then have them help you decide on something to give to demonstrate appreciation (e.g., prayer, testimony, sharing a talent, service).
Hannah from the Old Testament shows an excellent example of having an attitude of gratitude. She was one of Elkanah’s wives. His other wife, Peninnah, had many children but Hannah had none. She wanted a child more than anything, but year after year, she couldn’t bear children.
Finally, she went to the temple and made a vow with the Lord, explaining that if he would only give her a son, she would give the son back to the Lord for all his days. Soon, Hannah conceived and gave birth to Samuel. Once he was weaned, she showed her gratitude to the Lord by taking Samuel to the temple where he would be raised by Eli, the priest.
Hannah had finally received what she always wished for: a son. However, because she was so grateful for the blessing the Lord gave her, she fulfilled her promise and let Samuel be raised the Lord’s way (see 1 Samuel 1–2).
In a growing material world, people often develop a selfish, survival-of-the-fittest perspective. It’s important to remember to help each other out along the way and to show your generosity to those in need. Teach your family to be grateful for their blessings, and then share their happiness and wealth with others.
Display a picture of a pelican and point out the large pouch under its beak. The pelican not only catches food for himself, but for others as well. If we go out with the intent to get enough of what we need or want (money, food, happiness, etc.) for ourselves and others, it will be easy to share.
The Golden Rule
Sit in a circle and give each person one gold-wrapped chocolate coin. Give yours to the person next to you, and encourage them to give one of their two to the person next to them, and so on around the circle. Explain the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do to you. Usually generosity comes back around (though that shouldn’t be motivation), just like a coin came back when everyone gave part of what they had received. Encourage your family to give kindness, talents, time, and means.
The Extra Mile
Combine with another family for this FHE. Have each family bring something for a picnic and go on a hike about a mile long. Encourage your children to carry the other family’s picnic supplies. After you get to the picnic site, explain that generosity means going the extra mile and helping make the load lighter for those around you. The other family can use this lesson to teach graciously receiving help, and then join a different family next week and switch roles to teach their children generosity.
Her whole life, Clara Barton was generous with her time, talents, and means, always wanting to help others. She liked to learn and became a teacher when she was just a teenager. Clara taught at a private school where students’ parents paid her, but there were many children in the area whose parents could not afford to put them in school. She taught those children without pay and the town provided the school. Soon she had 600 students!
After teaching for fourteen years, Clara worked in the Patent Office in Washington, D.C., until the Civil War started. She resigned her job and began making bandages out of sheets and towels for wounded soldiers.
Soon the War Department granted her permission to go to the front lines. Clara comforted the soldiers, bought and prepared food, and searched for missing soldiers. In the years following the Civil War she worked to reunite thousands of soldiers and their families.
Then in the war between France and Prussia, Clara worked closely with Europe’s International Red Cross. When she returned to America three years later, she began working to establish a similar organization in the United States. After eight years of hard work, Clara formed the American Red Cross and served as its president for twenty-three years.
Thanks to Clara’s dedication and generosity thousands of lives were saved or improved.