With our tummies full of chilled root beer and the window rolled down on hot summer evenings, I squeezed my bony knees together under my cotton dress, anticipating the moment we’d pass the designated house. I practiced the thank-you-for-the-root-beer-dad speech in my mind, hoping it would sound unrehearsed when I delivered it.
As strongly as a 9-year-old could, I’d imprinted the house on the corner of 29th and Washington as the Thank Dad Here house, so I’d remember to thank him every time we passed it. My mission, of course, was to ensure there would be many more frosty mugs of root beer.
The Unexpected Benefit
How good it felt to escape the heat and let the breeze blow through my ponytail. Anticipating the cold drink helped my brother and sisters focus on what we all loved, instead of bickering. Sometimes we’d watch cars “drag the gut,” parading up and down Willamette Street. The highlight to us, however, was the root beer.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess. 5:16-18 NKJV).
There are dozens of references to being thankful in the Bible. It’s clear God places a high value on it, but I didn’t expect to receive any benefit other than the repetition of a pleasant experience. What I learned, however, was that my father appreciated our thankfulness—he loved being with his family and pleasing us. Expressing my thanks blessed him, no matter what my motive was.
Being Thankful Starts with Saying Thankful
Repeated thanks worked on my heart, too, and now I really am thankful for Dad’s love and gifts to us. There’s nothing wrong with practicing what’s good. The motivation for it can become more pure with time.
Do you have something like my landmark that helps you remember to be thankful?
by Kathy Sheldon Davis