The Importance of Thankfulness
Driving through rural Connecticut, I noticed highway signs directing people to the Thankful Arnold House—brown signs that denote a place of historical significance. I couldn’t help wondering who Thankful Arnold was, what happened to him to make him thankful, and why his house is significant.
As it turns out, Thankful Arnold was a woman, not a man, who lived with her husband, Joseph, in this home built in 1795. [i] “It is an utterly typical home of an utterly typical family in early New England,” according to Elizabeth Malloy, a specialist in the history of New England women.[ii] Thankful, her daughter, and her granddaughter each served as head of the household—three generations of women.
“Thankful”—what a fascinating name for a child! Could it be that her mother was exceptionally grateful for the safe arrival of her baby daughter in those days when childbirth so often resulted in the death of either the baby or the mother? Perhaps she had given birth to several sons and was now happy to welcome at last a baby girl. We don’t know.
But what a delightful name for a baby—Thankful! In this era when a child is sometimes viewed as an interruption to a woman’s successful career, or a financial burden to a dad who is barely making ends meet, we need to be sure our children know we’re thankful for them.
Remember that when parents brought their children to Jesus, the disciples reproved them? When Jesus saw this, “he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them” (Mark 10:14).
Your children are your most valuable possession. Today would be a great time to tell them how thankful you are for each one.
[i] Elizabeth Malloy, as told to John Fiske, ‘Who Did It – and Why? The Riddle of Thankful Arnold House,” http://www.antiquesjournal.com/Pages04/Monthly_pages/feb08/thankful.html, accessed October 3, 2009.
[ii] Elizabeth Malloy, as told to John Fiske, ‘Who Did It – and Why? The Riddle of Thankful Arnold House,” http://www.antiquesjournal.com/Pages04/Monthly_pages/feb08/thankful.html, accessed October 3, 2009.