In the Book of Genesis, chapter 35 Jacob was told by God that he should go to Beit El and set up an altar. Jacob says that he owes something to God because God helped him when he was in trouble and helped him become successful.
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Discuss with your children:
- Is it important to thank people when they help you?
- Is it important to thank God when He helps you?
- Which is easier?
- Is one more important than the other?
- Is it more important to thank someone when they help you when you are down, or if they help you become successful?
Jacob was told to set up an altar to give thanks to God.
- Why did Jacob not think of thanking God himself?
- Why is it not automatic for people to thank others?
- Think of 10 different ways of thanking someone for helping you.
- Have at least 5 ways have no cost involved.
- Jacob was told to thank God. For a whole day thank anyone who does something for you without being asked, even if it is not something that you normally thank people for. Try to continue for another day, or even a whole week.
- Do an experiment. Say thank you for anything that you can for a whole week. Make a graph of how many times you say thank you a day. (Check out different kinds of graphs on the internet.)
- Does saying thank you become easier or harder by the end of the week?
- Make a list of all the different ways that you can say thank you.
- When we go to the store and buy something, we pay for it with money. When someone does something nice for us , it is also worth something. Sometimes we “pay” for this with a thank you and sometimes we do something nice for the person in return. Think of nice things that people have done for you. If you didn’t “pay” someone for something nice that they did for you think of something that you can do for them now. (Make them a card, prepare a dinner for them, bring them a plate of fresh cookies, etc.)
- One of the reasons that Jacob explains that he is going to build an altar to God is that God gave him success. Think of people that have helped you succeed. What would your life be like if you hadn’t come in contact with this person? Write a letter or a thank you card to this person explaining how he/she has helped you succeed.
- Jacob realizes that God was with him when he was in distress. Have you ever been in distress? Did anyone help you? Have you ever helped anyone who was in distress? Pick a person in history and write a story about how you helped this figure in their time of distress.
- Jacob also realized that God was with him when he traveled. Have you ever travelled anywhere?
- Make a list of different things that can go wrong when you travel.
- Make a list of 5-10 different things that you can do to help your parents when you travel as a family.
- Write a story about a family that is travelling and runs into some kind of trouble. How do they solve their problem?
- Write a thank you note from Jacob to God thanking God for all of his help.