It’s important to me and Matthew that we raise grateful kids but sometimes that seems easier said than done.
Case in point: a few weeks ago I lost it.
I was in Elias’s room and his bottom dresser drawer was open. He was pushing on it in such a way that it was straining the whole drawer. I asked him to stop. He did it again, the track cracked and the drawer dropped to the floor.
“Why don’t you take care of your things? Why don’t you appreciate all the nice things you have? I’m so tired of it, Elias!”
His eyes got wide and he quietly apologized. I apologized for getting so upset, but then had a really honest conversation with him about the blessings we have been given and how we need to live.
It is an ongoing conversation in our house lately.
We want to get rid of the stuff.
We want to be intentional.
We want to not raise grateful kids, not entitled ones.
Here are 5 simple ways we are working to raise grateful kids:
- We pray: The simplest and most important. We pray for others, for circumstances, for the big and the small. Prayer turns their perspective outward in a powerful way. Recently one of Elias’s friends tragically lost his mother and I have been so touched how many times Adeline has prayed for the little boy.
- We sponsor kids: We are big fans of World Vision and sponsor five children through the organization. We write them letters, talk about them and pray for them and their families. World Vision is an easy to way to help teach kids about the globe.
- We write thank you cards and send mail: In a digital age, this might sound old-fashioned, but writing thank you cards forces our kids to practice gratitude and think about their blessings. We also love sending mail to family and friends. It’s a great way to let others know we are thinking of them — and prevent all that art from cluttering up our home.
- We are getting rid of stuff: We have way too much stuff. I decided that every time we get a big box in the mail, we are using it as a chance to purge more. The box gets filled, and we take it to Goodwill. As we fill, we talk about how donating things is a way to help others.
- We proclaim gratitude: We have simple conversations about gratitude – in the car, during bath time, while we play. By simply asking my kids what they are grateful for, it gives us the opportunity to talk about the blessings we have and why gratitude matters.
The new book Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World has really been speaking to me on this subject. In it, Kristen Welch:
shares the ups and downs in her own family’s journey of discovering why it’s healthiest not to give their kids everything. Teaching them the difference between “want” and “need” is the first step in the right direction. With many practical tips and anecdotes, she shares how to help kids become hardworking, fulfilled, and successful adults.
Parenting is a hard and beautiful journey. Each day is unique. The investment we make in our kids will impact them for a lifetime.
What steps do you take toward raising grateful kids?