I recently received a package in the mail. Out of the blue, I opened this cool box with a gift inside just for me. It was awesome to get something in the mail—that wasn’t junk or a bill! As I read the card inside, the first words caught my eye: “Thank you.”
Immediately, I was grateful. The gift was great, and it reinforced the words of appreciation found in the card. But the best part of this gift wasn’t the super-nifty coffee stuff, but the clear message that someone appreciated my effort.
Let me explain how this example of appreciation reminded me of what I should be doing for my wife and kids. Maybe you're in the same boat as me.
We all want to be appreciated, but we all seem to take things for granted too. This simple act of kindness from a couple friends encouraged me immensely. It impacted me enough to write about it. I didn’t realize how hungry my heart was to be appreciated. I had been so used to doing what needed to be done, because it needed to be done, I had grown accustomed to not being appreciated for it.
I think most of us—maybe all of us—get that. We would all love to hear someone say "good job" or "I appreciate your work on x thing". This made me think about the people around me who might also be longing to hear, "good job".
Show appreciation to your wife.
My wife is a stay at home mom. She knows what it feels like to pour yourself out and not feel appreciated for your efforts. I see her every day doing laundry, cooking, cleaning, teaching, kissing booboos, driving kids everywhere and many other things I’m not even aware of. Every so often, not nearly often enough, I’ll surprise her with something as a thank you for all that she does for the kids and me.
But there’s a huge upside to showing appreciation. There is a motivating and mobilizing factor found in showing appreciation. My friends were sending me a gift as a thank you for doing some writing for them. Within just a few minutes of receiving the gift, I was struck by not only gratitude—but at how quickly I was motivated to do more.
When we show appreciation to those around us, it motivates them to continue their work. It encourages them to do more. It gives them the push to go the extra mile. All because they know we care about them. When we show appreciation to those around us it also mobilizes them to do the same. Sure, we shouldn't show appreciation simply to get a nice reaction or more work out of someone—that's manipulation. But, we should live as the example we'd like—this is biblical fatherhood.
I remember when I was a kid my dad asking, “Did you tell your mom thank you?” My mistaken response was, “why?” He quickly listed off a laundry list of the things my mom did for me every day. I’m sure you can think of a similar list. Let's be sure we're being godly husbands when it comes to showing our wives appreciation.
What are the things you have taken for granted that you should show thankfulness for? First give thanks to God. Then, think about those around you who you need to hear thanks. Don’t hesitate. Don’t leave those words of kindness unsaid. Send that gift, email or expression of thankfulness. You won’t regret it.
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
Show appreciation to your kids.
Second, show this example to your kids. Let them see you showing thankfulness. Help them build that attitude of thankfulness by listing their blessings. Have them talk through the things they are thankful for and who they need to thank for that. Think creatively how they can show their appreciation.
How amazing would your wife feel to be bombarded with thank-you cards on a random Tuesday? What impact would it have for your kids to shower their teachers, pastors and friends with appreciation for the things they do for them?
One last question for you to answer: How do you think this will impact your kids? If you go through these ideas with your kids and they learn the art of thankfulness and the power of appreciation, how will it change their attitude? If we are consistent in this practice, we will see them living out an attitude of appreciation.
You cannot live out an attitude of appreciation and grumble about what you don’t have. I’m taking my own medicine on this one. I have the same tendency to look at my situation and grumble about the aspects that I’m not happy with. That grumbling translates to those around me loud and clear, including my children. However, if I work to maintain an attitude of appreciation for the many, many blessings in my life—that will translate as well. Biblical fatherhood understands the art of appreciation.
A gospel perspective we can bring to this is that one day we all long to hear our savior say:
Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master. —Matthew 25:21
Let’s strive to live out our lives in peace with thankfulness. Let’s motivate our wives, children, brothers and sisters to action by showing them the appreciation we all crave.
This is a guest post from Will King, M. Div. Will is a doctoral student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary studying leadership. He is the associate pastor of students and men’s ministry at Memorial Baptist Church in Baytown, TX. Married to Lucinda for 13 years, they have four wonderful kids. Learn more about Will here.
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