How many ways can you say thank you? Who says gracias? Where do they say danke? How about malo or tak or merci or kansha shimasu? Children all over the world say thank you in their own language (see “Children All Over the World,” Children’s Songbook, 16–17). Heavenly Father hears and understands them. He loves to hear children say thank you to their parents, to their friends, and especially to him.
We can speak our thanks; we can write our thanks; we can sing about how thankful we are; we can feel thankful in our hearts. Heavenly Father asks us to express our thanks often because he knows that a grateful heart helps us feel happy.
In the Book of Mormon, Jacob, the brother of Nephi, had a difficult time engraving on the plates, but he was glad to do it because the plates would last for many years. He hoped that whoever read his words would receive them with a thankful heart (see Jacob 4:3). His words are now a part of our scriptures, and we can all read them with gratitude.
The people of Alma thanked the Lord for delivering them out of bondage and for easing their burdens while they were slaves. You might think there would not be much to be thankful for if you were a slave, but the people of Alma knew the Lord had comforted them. In the valley of Alma, they lifted their voices to thank and praise God (see Mosiah 24:20–22).
In Jesus’ day, people with the disease leprosy had to stay far away from others, so no one else would catch their disease. One day 10 lepers stood far off and called to Jesus to heal them. Jesus told them to go and show themselves to the priests. As they went, a miracle occurred—they were healed. Ten men were healed, but unfortunately only one of them turned back to give thanks. Let us be sure that we remember to “thank the Lord [our] God in all things” (D&C 59:7).
In some parts of the world, a cornucopia, also called a horn of plenty, is a symbol of abundance and thankfulness. Mount page 7 on heavy paper, and cut out the cornucopia, the slot, and the pictures of things we are thankful for. Glue the pictures in the opening of the cornucopia, being careful not to cover the slot. Tape a small envelope behind the slot and hang the cornucopia in your home. Invite family members to write or draw things they are thankful for on small pieces of paper and slip them in the slot. Open the envelope during family home evening or at dinner; take turns reading the pieces of paper or discussing the drawings.
To help the children memorize D&C 59:7, recite the scripture together. Then call on a child to say, “I am thankful for (his or her choice).” Have that child join you in repeating the scripture; then ask another child to repeat the phrase, filling in what she or he is thankful for. Continue until many of the children are reciting with you. Focus on giving thanks by discussing some of their answers and also expressing what you are thankful for.
Talk about appropriate ways to show our thanks, including writing letters. Have the children write thank-you notes to a family member, a home teacher, a schoolteacher, a missionary, and so on. (Younger children could draw a picture of someone or something they are thankful for.) Invite the children to imagine they are writing a letter of thanks to Heavenly Father. What would they want to say? Remind them that each time they pray, they can thank Heavenly Father. Sing a song about gratitude, such as “I Thank Thee, Dear Father” (Children’s Songbook, 7).