Teaching Our Children (& Ourselves) Positive Thinking

When I was younger, I remember my mom telling me, “Don’t be a Negative Nancy.” So, I in turn, say similar things to my kiddos. It is not enough however, just to tell our kids to not be negative. We need to actually teach them how to think positively. A positive mind set will affect their view of God, view of the world, behavior, relationships with others, and their health.

I’m a big statistics person but I won’t bore you with too many. Just take a look at some research that shows how important a positive mind set is to our over all well being….

  • Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory research found that for every 10 point increase on a person’s optimism scale, the risk of early death went down by 19%.
  • Neuroscientists have discovered that people who have a more cheerful disposition and are more prone to optimism generally have higher activity occurring in their left frontal lobe where emotional responses occur.
  • In a study on couples that stay together and those who divorce, researchers found that the ones who were in good relationships had a 5:1 ratio of positive exchanges to negative.

These are facts based on scientific study but the Bible also has a lot to say about the way we think and it is there that we find the inspiration for teaching our children the truths on how God wants us to think positively.

In His commentary, John Phillips says, ” We must practice deliberate cultivation of positive thinking-and we must not surrender this Pauline concept just because “psychology preachers” have made wrong use of it. Positive thinking is possible only because Christ lives His life in us…If we are thinking of something good, we cannot be thinking something bad at the same time.”

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Philippians 4:8

7 Positive Things that Scripture Teaches Us to Focus On and How to Teach Them to Our Children

1. Truth

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32

Truth is so often twisted in today’s culture with everyone accepting their own experiences or opinions as truth. It is often said that there is no absolute truth. Well, the Bible would argue that God Himself only speaks truth and that He revealed truth to us in the person of Jesus Christ. Teach you children the doctorine of the faith found in Ephesians 1-3:

  • God is just.
  • Man is sinful.
  • Jesus died for our sins.
  • We are saved by grace through faith.
  • God loves us!
  • God has a plan for us.
  • We will be eternally secure in heaven.

Once they have the truth of God’s word in their heart, they will recognize a lie or false teaching for what it is. Remind them of these truths often and help them see false hood early on so that when they are older, they will stand in God’s truth.

2. Noble

Noble thoughts are those that are commanding of great respect. The Greek word, semnos, is used here and, in other portions of scripture, it is used to describe the lives of those who are ministry leaders and wise in age. The idea here is that we are so focused on thinking of how to live honorably for the Lord that there is no chance for a bad reputation.

“As a man thinks in his heart, so he is.” Proverbs 23:7a

Teach your children to have an accurate view of themselves. Remind them that they are a creation of the most High God and that as His children, they represent Him and are His children. Remind them that they should think of God first and others second. Remind them that they should think before they act so that others see a person who respects their God, others, and themselves. This means our thought life controls how we act.

3. Right

Right thinking is agreeing with God about what is righteous and just. It is not popular in this world to define marriage between a man and a woman, to value the life of the unborn, or to abstain from pre-marital sex. But, as believers, we must align our thoughts with focusing on the righteous living that God’s word professes.

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.  Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. ” Colossians 3:1-7

To promote right thinking in our children, we must protect their minds from the things the world promotes as good or acceptable and God calls wrong. We must teach them the scripture’s stance on these issues and pray that the Lord will enlighten them to the truth and that they will be in harmony with God in righteousness. This sometimes requires difficult and uncomfortable conversations as they get older but again the more they are positive in their thoughts towards God’s way of seeing things, the more apt they will disregard the world’s system.

4. Pure

Pure thoughts are those that are holy, morally clean, and God honoring. They are not stained by sin. These days, so many impure things are being thrown out to our children’s hearts and minds through music and media: poronography, filthy song lyrics, and foul language, just to name a few.

“How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.” Psalm 119:9

If your children are young, teach them the “O Be Careful Little Eyes” song. Even if your kids are older, teach them the same concepts, whatever comes in your eyes, ears, hearts, minds, or off your tongue or hands, and where your feet take you, all determine the purity of our souls. God’s people are called “to be holy, as He is holy.” This means, teaching them to take “What Would Jesus Do?” very seriously in their lives. And, ulimately to remember that God is watching.

O be careful little eyes what you see

O be careful little ears what you hear

O be careful little tongue what you say

O be careful little hands what you do

O be careful little feet where you go

O be careful little heart whom you trust

So, be careful little mind what you think

Full lyrics and song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqFrXwpTI-w

5. Lovely

Lovely things are those that are kind and gracious and beautifing to the soul.

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” Colossians 3:16

  • Teach your kids to read the Bible and how to meditate on scripture. If they are young, help them memorize short portions or stories and review them often.
  • Play praise and worship music in your homes and cars. Make sure these are the songs they are singing through their days.
  • Talk as a family about ways you can admonish others in your homes and neighborhoods to cultivate lovely thinking toward others.
  • Teach them to make a grateful list so that they are focusing on blessings rather than problems.
  • Also, visit this post on 5 Ways to Give Them Jesus for more ideas and resources.

6. Admirable

Some versions use the words “of good repute or good report”. Many commentaries translate an admirable mind set to be the idea of building up or encouraging thoughts that lead to kind words.

“But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator…

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3:7-10, 12-14

Let’s teach our babies not to gossip, not to lie, and not to speak with foul language. Let’s make those things taboo in our homes. Let’s teach them that we are to speak kind, thoughtful, encouraging and gentle words to others. Let’s model for them what humility, compassion, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, and real love looks like. It starts with us, Mommas, we have to show them what this looks like!! More than all of this, let’s teach them about our Savior who modeled those things and how they can be like Him.

7. Excellent & Praiseworthy

If its excellent (extremely good or outstanding) or worthy of our praise and devotion, then we can bet its ok to dwell on! And, the thing that this points back to is JESUS! He is excellent and worthy of our praise.

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17

Our actions follow our thought pattern. So, if we are in the mind set of thinking about Jesus, praising Jesus, and thanking Jesus, then we are sure to have our deeds be done in His great name! This is what we teach our kids: Read your word daily, pray without ceasing, and do everything for God’s glory!

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Copy of Teaching Our Children Positive Thinking

Sources for Statistics:

Mindfulness and Positive Thinking


The Magic Relationship Ratio, According to Science

32 thoughts on “Teaching Our Children (& Ourselves) Positive Thinking

  1. elizabethdaghfal

    I love the fullness of your definition of thinking positive. It’s not just calling everything good—which is how the world often describes it—but it’s whatever is true, noble… praiseworthy. I once heard about this ultra positive woman who thought it meant never saying no. Someone asked if she had ice, and she said, “Yes, it just hasn’t frozen yet.” The story always makes me laugh—-and I suppose if we all put a little bit of Pollyanna in our eyes, it wouldn’t hurt. But I agree with you that living with a Philippians 4:8 mindset is true positivity. At first it doesn’t seem positive to say we’re all sinners. But if we don’t admit the mess we’re in, we can’t see the blessing of the cure.
    Thanks for a great post!

    1. Haha. That is a funny story. Thank you for your thoughtful words. I agree with you 100%. Positivity definitely does not mean that we don’t deal with sin or that we won’t have to deal with hard stuff but when we choose to focus on the Lord and heavenly things, He helps our minds from straying to focus on the circumstances or our flesh. ❤

    2. Great 7 ways to ponder on this jam packed scripture. If all these things are considered daily by us Christians, many people will be drawn to knowing Jesus more. Thanks.

  2. I always go back to that verse whenever I need to think and walk straight. I also use this verse to help my kids decide if what they are going to do is good or not. 🙂 thanks for sharing the tips. They’re great reminders! 🙂

  3. This is so good, Arrica! The Bible has so much to say about what is in our hearts meaning what our focus (thoughts) are on. Thank you for sharing this!

  4. Prov 31 Lifestyle

    Love it! So important to teach positivity to our children. The world is tough and they need to learn how to captivate their thoughts.

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