throwing money at my mom :: the key to a happy life

November 24, 2009


Levi is five.  He and two of his brothers just took part in a music concert at our church.  There were tons of people there.  Mom was prepping him for the big night – trying to prepare the boys for what might happen.  Laughing.  Clapping.  Some cheering.  All possible.  We just want to teach our kids how to handle kindness.  How to respond to others with humility and a grateful spirit.  Look people in the eye.  Smile.  Say “thank you.”

“Now when you’re up there… when you’re done singing, people are going to like it.  They might clap for you and cheer a little bit.  Just look them in the eye and smile big.”

Levi didn’t miss a beat…  “I wish they’d just throw money.”

You just can’t make that stuff up.  Kids have a purity in their communication that can be frustrating at times, embarrassing at times, but refreshing, too.  What they think – they say.  They haven’t learned the appropriate filters of genteel society yet.  So they need some training – some guidance.  And our boys LOVE to talk, so we’ve got our work cut out for us.

Let me fill you in on one of our HIGHEST VALUES when it comes to the character development of our boys… It’s gratefulness.

I’m convinced that being appropriately grateful for EVERY small and large blessing in life is the key to a happy life.  And yes, I’m a Pastor and a lover of Jesus Christ – there is nothing in the world more life changing than a relationship with God through faith in Jesus.  But I’ve met all kinds of grumpy Christians.  Have you?  Don’t answer that…

The point is, with or without Jesus, a HUGE part of living a happy life is cultivating and expressing gratefulness as often as possible.  Being aware of the many, many ways we are blessed by the freedom we enjoy.  The people in our lives.  The food that we eat and the clothes that we wear.  Even our heartbeat.  It’s all a gift.

Believers, let your life RING with thanksgiving!  Let it be a defining characteristic of your nature!  If you spend your days looking for reasons to thank God, you will spend your life WORSHIPPING Him.  THAT is what you were made to do!  You fulfill your purpose, God receives more glory, you are deeply satisfied, and your relationship with Him continues to deepen as you enjoy each other.  “Ever increasing glory… rejoicing in the Lord always… life to the FULL!”

For those of you who aren’t sold on Jesus yet, this principle still applies.  Of course, it is harder to be “thankful” for the creation around us when you don’t know where this all came from or why it’s here.  I understand that.  But there are certainly people in your life you can express gratitude to.  You can look for opportunities to be grateful to others.  It will make your life better.  Gratefulness is the mother of happiness.  More “thank you” = more “I’m blessed” = more “I’m happy.”  Try it.

We’re still working on Levi.  We’re working on all of our great boys.  But we continually INSIST on “thank you’s” at home.  For little things and big things.  Every chance they get, I want them to find reasons to say “thank you” to mom, to their brothers, to me, to everyone.  And to God most of all.

Most of our prayer time together at night before bed is a rambling list of THANK YOU GOD for (fill in the blank…)  I’m so encouraged to hear them praising God for their cozy beds.  For mom.  For the cross.  For our little dog.  For the moon and the stars.  The list never gets old.  If they learn this ONE thing… to live a life of THANK YOU GOD, I will feel like a successful dad.

Not surprisingly, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year.  And I know, if you know me well, you might think that has something to do with my momma’s insane cooking and world’s best pumpkin pie.  You’d be right.

But my love of Thanksgiving runs much deeper.  To the core of my life as a man, a dad, and as a worship leader.  On this one day, EVERYONE in America is encouraged to pause for a day and revel in their Thanksgiving to God.  With or without the cranberry sauce and the roasted pine-nut stuffing, I hope every day of my life is Thanksgiving Day.  And, Lord, help me teach my boys what it means to be truly, deeply, and consistently grateful.

This year, when mom brings out the homemade pumpkin pie with cinnamon whipped cream and roasted pecans, I’ve gotta figure out a way to let her know how much I appreciate her.  Maybe this year, I’ll just throw money…

What are YOU grateful for?


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“throwing money at my mom :: the key to a happy life” by Joshua Skogerboe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.


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Psalm 24:7 & Luke 10:42 >> Like David, and Mary, I'm in pursuit of my one thing. I'm the Pastor at St. Olaf Lutheran Church in Montgomery, IL. Pastor, teacher, writer, communicator, designer, and drummer. I definitely got the better deal in my marriage to Amy. And I couldn't be any more proud of my five amazing boys. Deeply grateful.

One response to throwing money at my mom :: the key to a happy life

  1. Hey , it’s Thanksgiving Day! I’m enjoying my extra day off, and I am planning to make something fun that will probably involve a moto trip and seeing something new in Waterford I haven’t seen yet.
    You write something new at Thanksgiving?

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.