“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world.” (Romans 1:8)
“I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge—even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you—so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (I Cor. 1: 4-7)
“You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.” (II Cor. 1: 11)
“I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.” (Eph. 1: 16)
“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy.” (Phil. 1: 3-4)
“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints,” (Col. 1: 3-4)
“We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers,” (I Thess. 1: 2)
“We ought always to give thanks to God for you brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.” (2 Thess. 1: 3)
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be made for all people.” (I Tim. 2: 1)
“I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers.” (Phile. 1:4)
Someone told me long ago when I was managing a newspaper advertising department to always think of five reasons you were thankful for someone before you went into a difficult meeting with them. The reason was because they said that thinking thankful thoughts about someone would make the difficult meeting go smoother and not as stressful. The way they described it was that thinking thankful thoughts would change the “air” in the room.
I don’t know how much truth there is in changing the “air” in a room. However, I do know that in order to have influence over someone or even a group of someones, you need to have relevance. The people you are addressing need to know that you care about them and that you appreciate them.
Paul established “relevance” by starting with some sort of a thankful statement. There are only a few of Paul’s letters that do not start off with a thankful statement (Galations, II Timothy, and Titus).
The premise here is that Paul knew that these thankful statements set him up to be more impactful as a teacher. There is something inside of all of us that responds positively to a teacher that is thankful.
There is something inside of us that knows that thanksgiving and selfishness are incompatible. Therefore, a person who is thankful is not simply attempting to heap glory to themselves. They are telling me whatever they are about to tell me because they care for me and have my best interest in mind.
Start your next day of teaching by meditating for a few minutes about five things that you are thankful for regarding each of your children. Then before you start teaching tell your children one of those. I think you will notice that things will go more smooth and your children will be more open to instruction.
Maybe as my old boss used to say, the “air” in the room will change.