On this Thanksgiving weekend, we challenge you to make a conscious and deliberate discussion of gratitude a part of your family's holiday. The following quotes, each from a prophet, may help (and may cause us all to think more widely and more deeply about the marvelous power of thanks-giving:
Our beloved prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, said:
"We can lift ourselves and others as well, when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude. If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues."
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin said:
"Gratitude is a mark of a noble soul and a refined character. We like to be around those who are grateful. They tend to brighten all around them. They make others feel better about themselves. They tend to be more humble, more joyful, more likable …"
And President Gordon B. Hinckley said:
"Where there is gratitude, there is humility, as opposed to pride."
President James E. Faust quoted President J. Reuben Clark in teaching that blessings are gifts, and our part is simply to receive and cherish:
"As with all commandments, gratitude is a description of a successful mode of living. The thankful heart opens our eyes to a multitude of blessings that continually surround us. President … Clark, formerly a first counselor in the First Presidency, said: 'Hold fast to the blessings which God has provided for you. Yours is not the task to gain them, they are here; yours is the part of cherishing them.'"
In Book of Mormon times, the wonderful Amulek also gave us sage advice when it comes to being thankful as he advised us to "live in thanksgiving daily."
And President Joseph Fielding Smith tied it all to the ultimate gratitude for the Atonement, as quoted by Elder Wolfgang H. Paul:
"One of the greatest sins, both in magnitude and extent … is the sin of ingratitude. When we violate a commandment, no matter how small and insignificant we may think it to be, we show our ingratitude to our Redeemer. It is impossible for us to comprehend the extent of his suffering when he carried the burden of the sins of the whole world. … If we really understood and could feel even to a small degree, the love and gracious willingness on the part of Jesus Christ to suffer for our sins we would be willing to repent of all our transgressions and serve him."
Especially at a time when there are many worries about our families, the sagging economy and the mass disintegration of the values and the things that we hold dear in our world, it is even more important to practice thanks-giving for what we do have. As we celebrate Thanksgiving today in our families, may we do so by turning the noun of Thanksgiving into the verb of thanks-giving; and may that attitude of gratitude be for all of us the perfect entry to the season of remembering Christ and giving our deepest thanks to the Father for the glory of the birth of his Son.
Richard and Linda are the founders of Joyschools.com and New York Times No. 1 best-selling authors who lecture throughout the world on family-related topics. Visit the Eyres anytime at www.TheEyres.com or at www.valuesparenting.com. Their three latest books are "The Entitlement Trap," "5 Spiritual Solutions" and "The Three Deceivers."