The past few days I’ve been reading Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World by Kristen Welch as I am part of the launch team for this book and honestly, all through the book I keep saying, “Yes, this!” Reading excerpts aloud to my husband, highlighting half the book, wanting to stay up all night to finish it but also wanting to read it slowly so I can absorb all the goodness! This is just a quick preview of the book:
No one plans to raise a selfish child or spoiled brat. Every parent dreams of their child being selfless, generous, and appreciative. But it’s challenging to raise a grateful child in a culture that has a hard time saying no. We love our kids and want to give them the world. How do we say no to our child when “every other child” gets “everything they want?”
Kristen Welch, author of We are THAT family and founder of Mercy House, is learning the way to give the world to her children is by giving them perspective. She’s discovered the ultimate yes in bringing up faith-filled kids who love God and others.
It’s never too late to raise grateful kids. With Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World, get ready to cultivate a spirit of genuine gratitude in your family and create a home in which your kids don’t just say―but mean!―“thank you.”
One of the questions I have been asked is, what does gratefulness look like in our home lately? Ugh. If I think about today, it looks like more like ungratefulness in our home. Our two oldest are on a youth retreat this weekend so the younger two are home with their parents all to themselves! Being in a larger family, one on one time with the parents doesn’t happen a whole lot. So we combined running a boring errand to get dog medicine from the vet with a visit to a local toy store that is quite unique. Before we went into the toy store the expectation was set that there was no toy purchases today, we were going to get out of the house and have some fun without purchasing toys. After having some fun, riding a carousel and getting a treat, they asked, “Now what are we going to do?” Not, “Thanks for the fun mom and dad, we enjoyed our carousel ride and treats.” Instead there was begging for laser tag, bowling, Mall of America rides, anything but going home. There was also complaining about the boring ride back home because they couldn’t watch a movie or be on electronics for a whole 40 minutes!
Later in the day, one of the little neighborhood friends came over to play. Our youngest has been asking for new shoes the past few days and when his friend arrived, he was eager to show our son his new shoes. This then increased the desire for new shoes by about 1,000. After his friend went home, we had our son try on a pair of tennis shoes we purchased for him in September which he hasn’t been wearing for a while. They fit him well with room to grow compared to the tennis shoes he’s been wearing lately. So we told him he can start wearing those shoes. The tears ensued as he was really desperate for new shoes and he wasn’t going to be getting some anytime soon. We are dream crushers here today. Mean parents who refuse to provide endless hours of entertainment, new shoes and media time for our children.
Yet when I think of where this attitude comes from, I can’t help but look at my own (ungrateful) heart and wanting to be entertained or do fun things, to buy new pillows for my home when I have perfectly good ones already and spend endless hours doing what I want instead of doing laundry or dishes.
What then is the antidote for this entitlement beast that is lurking in our homes and hearts?
Gratitude. It leads to contentment. I always think of Paul when he is writing to the church in Phillipi and his convicting words about contentment.
Phillipians 4:6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus
11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ,[a] who gives me strength.
So now that I’ve figured out we have a major problem in our home, what to do?
Scripture – I think memorizing some scripture on gratitude and contentment would be helpful for all of us. What is God’s word instructing us to do?
Gratitude Journals – I will definitely be starting this for myself and maybe my older two as well. I have had our chalkboard wall in the kitchen be a thankful tree at various points throughout the year and that is fun too but I think something that we can do everyday would be great.
Dinnertime– We occasionally will do high/low around the dinner table and maybe trying to do only highs or something we’re thankful for today would be a good way to switch it up. Also my hubby and I have been discussing how the prayer at dinnertime could use an overhaul as well.
Serving in our Community – This one has been on our hearts for a long time. We have wanted a place for our kids to serve but the few places I know of in town are full for months in advance to the point where we can’t even sign up to help out. When we get the focus off of ourselves and onto someone else, gratitude will surely come. Definitely something we will be doing!
Our Language – I’ve noticed that we often ask our kids if they had a “good” day at school or if whatever they did was “fun” along with praise such as “good job” or “way to go” which my husband will admit he is very guilty of doing often. It’s as if life is always a constant stream of fun and goodness with praise added in just for being a kid and doing something. Obviously it’s not, life is full of bad days, days that are not fun and no one will run around praising you when you’re an adult for doing your job or cleaning your house. Don’t we all know that! HA! Not sure exactly how we’ll change this but it’s something we are going to focus more on.
Prayer – Often I feel as if my kids say rote prayers such as “Thank you for this day, thank you for my friends, family and school.” We’ve been focusing on attributes of God and so maybe we also could focus on one person or thing we are thankful for and really pray about that.
Parents – I am going to be better at expressing my own gratitude instead of my complaining and grumbling which comes out in exasperation at times with silly things, so adding in patience with that as well.
Obviously Rome wasn’t built in a day, these attitudes weren’t acquired in a day and so we won’t be tackling all of this in a day either.
I’m so thankful for this book, Kristen does an excellent job of sharing her own family’s experience with ungrateful hearts and attitudes along with what has worked in their family. I’ll be sharing more from the book in future blog posts so stay tuned! Also, you can purchase your book from Kristen’s website or amazon.com.
For more on Gratefulness in our homes, check out these awesome bloggers who are also part of the launch team and blog hop!
Inspiring an Attitude of Gratitude – by Alison
Rasisng Grateful Kids – by amanda
Why You Can’t Buy Gratitude At The Dollar Store – by Andrea
Missing – Gratefulness in our home – by Ange
Choosing Gratitude – by Angela
Gratefullness – by chaley
5 Steps to Gratitude-Fille Family – by Christa
Practicing Grateful Parenting – by Dana
Sing a Song – by Hannah
Cultivating gratitude in our family – by Jamie
Gratefulness In Our Home – by Jana
Gratefulness In Our Home – by Jana
Let It Begin With Me – by Jen
Choosing Gratefulness – by Jennifer
Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World – The Book – by jeri
Eradicating Entitlement – What are you rooted in? – by Jessica
Gratefulness in our home – by Kate
The Problem With Entitlement is that it begins with us – by Katelyn
7 Unusual Ways I Know How to Be Grateful – by Kathryn
Raising Grateful Kids – by Keri
How My Children Remind Me to Pray with Gratitude – by Kishona
Grateful – by Kristy
Entitlement: The Ugly Truth of a Beautiful Lie – by Leigha
The Most Important Thing You Can Do To Raise Grateful Kids – by Lindsey
Dear Son: How Do I Teach You To Be Grateful Without Guilt? – by Marie Osborne
Gratitude, A Practical Definition – by Mia
Cultivating Gratitude in Our Home – by Nancy
Learning Gratitude through Chronic Illness – by Rachel
Being Grateful – by Rebecca
I’ve Found Something I Can’t Live Without – by Sarah
The Power of Naming our Gifts – by Sarah
Outfitted – by Sarah Jo
Growing Gratitude in our Family – by Sondra
Teaching Gratefulness – by Stephanie
How Grateful Looks From Here – by Alison
Fighting Entitlement in Children and All of us – by Leah
Entitlement Problem – by Karrie
Grateful Today – by Krystal