One of the best ways for you to help your children to be happy and contented, is to teach them gratitude. When our children are living their lives comparing to others, or feeling entitled, it becomes very difficult when they don’t get what they want. As they compare with others it is here that they becoming unhappy with who they are or what they have. I love the saying, “Comparison is the thief of joy!”
Gratitude is described as the following; the quality of being thankful, readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
Being thankful is an essential characteristic you want to be instilling in your children. In Philippians 4:11 it says, “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” When we are thankful we will be content.
The battle we have when it comes to the area of being grateful is that it is countercultural to the society we are living in. David Platt writes, “Talk about being counter cultural. In a world where everything revolves around yourself – protect yourself, promote yourself, comfort yourself, take care of yourself – Jesus says, “Crucify yourself. Put aside all self-preservation in order to live for God’s glorification no matter what that means for you in the culture around you.”
Gratitude is a choice. How does it feel when our children are given a gift but don’t even say thanks. This is a choice they make. From a very young age we must teach our children the good manners of saying thankyou. Acknowledging those around them, rather than just expecting. Author Kristen Welch from her book ‘Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World’ writes, “ “Thank you. Nothing makes a parent’s heart explode with joy like these unprompted words from our kids. Or makes us more discouraged when the words never come.” She also writes, “When entitlement’s poison begins to infect our hearts, gratitude is the antidote.”
I noticed the entitlement creeping into my families life and thankfully the whisper of the Holy Spirit warned me and gave me strategies to overcome it and turn it around. Some ideas to change a negative mind, or an ungrateful spirit could include:
At the dinner table each night, ask your family, “What was the best thing that happened in your day?. Sometimes as adults in our children’s lives, we want to know about the things that went wrong so that we can show our live by fixing them up. Our kids need to know that we are just as interested in the good things that happen as the not so good. This will slowly change their mindset from one of negativity to one os positivity.
Reminding them to say thank you. If they receive a compliment make sure they acknowledge that person with a thank you. Thank you are two very important words.
Looking at perspective. Perspective changes everything. Talking through incidents and seeking a new perspective on a hurt, can really help change a situation. I remember the statement “hurting people hurt others!” was a great perspective changer for me.
Exposing our children to the world. Looking at missions and the plights of other children around the world, can greatly help your child get a dose of perspective when it comes to their own wants. Taking my girls on a mission trip to Cambodia really helped in the area of gratitude for what we are so blessed with.
Counting our blessings. When our children are complaining, as adults don’t join in with them. Turn the conversation around and get them to count their blessings.