I have been reflecting lately on whether I am more prone to simply tell my children what to do, rather than teach them how to do what they should do.  Deuteronomy 6:7 talks about how we are to teach our children the precepts of God “when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”  Basically, throughout the day, as you are going about your day, teach your children.  The direct context here is the teaching of the moral commands of God, however its application I think extends farther than that.  This seems to be a good model to teach our children, in general.

A random thought that led to another random thought eventually landed on the writing of thank you notes.  My 4-year-old had her birthday two months ago, and as usual, we sat down to do thank you notes for her gifts the next day.  I usually ask, ‘what would you like to say to ___’, guiding her to some sort of appropriate thank you.  This time, she was also able to pen the words, copying the letters I wrote on another paper.  My girls love to do their thank you notes, and Abigail was especially proud to be able to write them herself this year.  I stress the importance of expressing thanks anytime they receive kindness from others, and especially when they receive a gift.

Growing up, I remember being told to write a thank you note, or call to say thank you, but I have no recollection of being instructed on how. It’s a small enough thing, you’d think that writing a thank you note is pretty self-explanatory, and maybe it is, but maybe it still calls for a side by side instructing.  I always hated making that call to say thank you.  Not because I wasn’t thankful, but because it felt awkward.  Because I never saw it modeled.  Because it felt coerced.  Will my girls have a different outlook when they are grown, as they reflect back upon the times that Mom sat with them, helping them do their notes?  I can only hope so.