Friday, December 13, 2013

Teaching our kids Gratefulness

Now to look at these beautiful faces, you'd think - they're perfect, polite, sweet, and beautiful, right?  I know most of the time those are MY thoughts too!

And because I love them, I want to give EVERYTHING to my girls - and I know I'm not alone!  I didn't have the childhood of my dreams, so I want to pour all I can into being sure my daughters have the amazing, and LOVING experiences I didn't necessarily have growing up.

How do we find the balance between giving our kids what they want, yet them being grateful kids?  

I had a moment where I realized I was doing my girls a dis-service by offering EVERYTHING I could to them. 

It's SOO frustrating when you sacrificially give something to your kids, and they just want more, and are not grateful for what they have.  During a time where we were extremely pinched financially, my husband took his birthday money from a family member and bought a doll one of my daughters wanted.  He was SO excited to give it to her.  At first, she was excited, but it quickly turned into her wanting more - a better doll, & more dolls.  My hubby was heart broken, knowing what a sacrifice it was to give her THAT doll.

I prayed for a creative solution - because I wanted her to be excited for what we CAN give, but for us not to feel taken advantage of when it's not what SHE thinks she deserves. 

It was near Easter time, so I told her I was going to take her shopping.  Oh boy, oh boy, was she excited.  When we got to the mall, I explained how ungrateful her attitude towards the doll her dad got her was, and pulled out scripture explaining it is better to GIVE then to RECEIVE, and this is the lesson our shopping experience is going to teach her.  And, I told her the money she got for Easter was going to be used to bless her father.  Oh my, the tears & upset; I'm sure the people in the mall were thinking I just sliced off her left arm because of how upset she was.

The reality sank in that she was getting NOTHING for Easter, rather, she was going to be the one giving this time.  Once she realized I was not going to change my mind, she pulled herself together and even got excited to bless her father.  We made sure to make a BIG deal out of what she was giving - and it was actually a lot of fun!  She even asked if she could get something for her sister too!  We spent that Easter just enjoying each others company & playing games rather than doing they typical Easter baskets & finding the Easter egg hunts.

To this day, 4 1/2 years later, she is a testimony of gratefulness & a BIG giving heart.  No matter how small the gift for her, she is overly thankful...and from her heart too. 

We need to be sure we're teaching our kids the art of giving so much more than receiving.  That's worth more than any gift we can give to them. We are called to give & serve the people around us; so that's a huge gift to our kids when we teach them the same principal.