Thursday, April 29, 2010

Be grateful

Last Sunday, my trusty green manual informed me that I'd be teaching my class of 10 year olds about the 12 tribes of Israel. More specifically, about how they beat up youngest brother Joseph, took his coat of many colors and sold him into Egypt.

The lesson was going really well - my kids are crazy smart and ask some brilliant questions. Green Manual told me that the point of the lesson should be about how Joseph responded with a good attitude instead of anger and negativity. It actually suggested I do a "make lemonade out of lemons" type activity.

As we drew to the end of the hour, I asked the kids how they would feel if they were Joseph. Caleb, who is smart as a whip and has a sarcastic wit nearly as biting, responded simply: "I'd want revenge." We went on to talk about how Joseph didn't seek revenge, he tried to improve his situation by serving the Pharaoh and eventually saving his whole family. It's all about your attitude and trying to see the positive in the situation.

Umm... is this lesson for the kids? Or for me? I'm not very good at seeing the positive in a situation.

I felt prompted to challenge these children to offer one prayer this week where they don't ask for anything; they don't do anything but offer thanks for the good things they have in their lives. It's a challenge that's been issued to me many times, and one I've done several times. It never hurts to have a reminder - it's a good challenge.

As Hans and I were coming home from the temple on Tuesday night, I was thinking about the kids and wondering how they were doing with their gratitude prayers. Things in my personal life have been a bit up and down lately. Some of the not-so-good things seem to be more prevalent than the good things. So I challenged myself, as well as the kids, to offer more prayers of pure gratitude this week.

It's helped. A lot. Sometimes I'm just offering thanks for little things that make me happy - a good lunch with good friends, a sweet little puppy kiss when I'm feeling down, a compliment on work well done. But thinking of one good thing, leads to thinking about another... and another... and another. And then I feel a little embarrassed that I ever felt like I needed something. I'm ridiculously blessed. And the Lord has been very good to me. Sure, there are trials. But they do not outweigh the blessings that surround me.

Being a primary teacher is a wonderful thing. I hope my kids are getting as much out of it as I am. It's amazing that this is a lesson I thought I'd learned before and yet it feels so fresh and new. How quick we are to forget. And I'm sure I'll have to be reminded again. Be grateful, for all that you have.

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