Thankfulness Brings Benefit
One of the most poignant and memorable verses from the Holy Qur’an is when Allah Most High tells us, “And if you are grateful, I will surely grant you increase” (Surah Ibrahim, 14:7). Allah also says in the story of Luqman teaching values to his son, “And who is grateful does so to the profit of his own soul” (Surah Luqman 31:12).
These important reminders tell us that when we express thanks, it benefits us by adding abundance and blessings to our lives!
It’s almost like a secret formula.
Exuding a continual attitude of gratefulness is more than just an Islamic habit; it is a way of life for a Muslim.
An Attitude of Gratitude
As parents, we all desire to help our child foster this “attitude of gratitude.” Thankfulness is one of the hallmark signs of anyone who believes in God.
Yet sometimes, despite knowing the value of gratefulness (shukr), parents and children can get stuck in a negative cycle of complaints, dissatisfaction, or simply wanting more.
How can we as Muslim parents help our children develop grateful hearts and habits?
Below are four ways Muslim parents and Muslim kids can work together to develop a family culture of “thanksgiving” in their home all year round.
1. Chat with your child about the benefits of gratefulness
Research suggests that gratitude improves health, self-esteem, and even sleep.
Chat with your child in the car, at the dinner table, or before bedtime about how being thankful makes our lives better.
Remember to ask questions — kids love to share their own insights and will often surprise you with their innocent wisdom.
2. Count your blessings as a family
I once knew a family where each member of the family kept a notebook in the kitchen.
Each morning, as a group they would each write what they were thankful for and what they wanted to accomplish for the day.
By counting their blessings, this family made themselves more aware of how much they have been given in life. It left them feeling empowered to “give” to others.
Family activities such as these both inspire thankfulness and gratitude and also strengthen the family unit as well – a key goal of all Noor Kids children’s book titles.
3. Expose your child to those less fortunate
Helping children become aware of their privilege is a great way to help them naturally develop gratitude.
Share with your children simple retelling of stories, current events, or scenarios about kids like them that are less fortunate. There are even some kid-friendly documentary videos that help expose children to poverty.
Ask your child how they think Allah wants us to help and then follow through on the best ideas.
4. Model grateful language
Children model their parents — and language is no exception.
Often times we project our goals and desires onto our children without first living those qualities ourselves.
If we want our children to be thankful, we need to be thankful too.
Let your child “catch you in the act” of gratitude by saying, “Alhamdulillah, I’m so grateful for….” or “I have so many reasons be thankful today…” Soon your little one will be using the same language…and their statements might just melt your heart.
Reading the Noor Kids Islamic kids book Giving Thanks together with your children can also help you both teach and reinforce the use of grateful language by your children.
Thankfulness as a Way of Life
Thankfulness is more than just an act, it’s the Islamic way of life.
As Muslim parents, one of our top reasons to be thankful is for our kids. When we intentionally share our values of gratitude with our children, “thanks” and “giving” can characterize our families all year long.