Cheerfulness doesn’t come cheap. We have to intentionally teach our children how to cultivate feelings of joy and happiness, so they can learn what it means to rejoice in the Lord. Here are a few simple, every day ideas for reinforcing cheerfulness with your children:
1. Memorize a verse about cheerfulness. Print it, color it, post it, practice it, make it the family motto of the month. “Serve the Lord with gladness” Ps. 100:2.
“Do all things without grumbling” Phil. 2:14.
“A joyful heart is good medicine” Prov. 17:22.
“A glad heart makes a cheerful face” Prov. 15:13.
“God loves a cheerful giver” 2 Cor. 9:7.
2. Back up cheerful commands with cheerful reminders about cheerful verses. For example, “Jeremy, I would like you to clean up the toys now, with a cheerful heart! Remember our verse? We are to serve the Lord with gladness!”
3. Require a smile when they come to the table or ask you a question or want something to eat. A smile is the ticket to any treat.
4. Make cheerfulness competitive. Who can out-cheerful every one in the family? Make a chart, offer a prize, and fire the starting pistol! Crown the winner as the most cheerful child of the day.
5. Cheer on cheerfulness. Encouragement is the easiest and most effective tool in our mommy tool belt. Take notice and praise every cheerful response or attitude that you can.
6. Read Bible stories. Spending time in the wilderness with Israelites will highlight the seriousness of complaining, as well as the mercy and grace of God and of their parents.
7. Be a cheerful mom. There is nothing more important than to get our own souls happy in God each morning (Mueller). We can’t offer our children a perfect example of cheerfulness, but we can point them to our Savior who did. And we can offer them a repenting, growing, example of a woman who is constantly striving after happiness in God.
8. Cheerfulness or Consequences. We must give clear commands and be faithful to correct our children when they complain.
9. Minimize temptation. We covered this in the previous post. Look for ways to remove regular temptations to grumpiness and discontent. An added tip: the simpler a child’s life, the happier they often become.
10. Persevere. Progress may be slow and some days kids and mommy will be anything but happy. But let’s get up and try again tomorrow. “Labor is light to a…cheerful spirit, and success waits upon cheerfulness. The man who toils, rejoicing with all his heart, has success guaranteed” (Spurgeon).