There are so many things in our generation that are easier then in our grandparents day. We have electronics, microwave ovens and washing machines that we just turn on that washes our clothes. However, I think in a lot of ways parenting is tougher. It is especially tough if you want to raise children who love the Lord more than themselves and don’t want them to be sucked into the culture that is heart sick for sure! *affilate links
How to we raise children who are grateful today? I know I don’t have it all figured out, no one does! However I have been parenting a long time now and I have put long hours into teaching and building relationships with my kids!
The first thing is time! You have heard the saying, “T.I.M.E spells Love! It really does. I don’t mean time that it takes driving your kids to every activity known to man kind or the few minutes before they go to bed or off to school! I mean quality time! You need to have a real relationship with them, one where they know you and you know them well! Anytime you want your children to take on a character trait, especially one against the culture you have to win their hearts first! If you don’t society will and then it is much more difficult!
So spend time with them. Go on a monthly date night, connect with them after school, write them letters, do something with them that they love (even if you don’t) -Make it a point to get intentional and put it on the calendar!
They need to see that being grateful is a part of your life! We need to lead by example! I am a mom and like any mom I can get frustrated and burned out, am I grateful in my circumstances? Is that something they would remember about me once I’m gone? That I was a grateful person? Many times it would not, and it is something I need to work on for sure! Your kids model after you, you can’t expect them to be grateful if they don’t see it in you. As much as we hate it, that saying, “actions speak louder than words” is true!
We need to get out of our comfort zone as a family:
Serve the needy
Sponsor a child oversees or right in your neighborhood
Teach them the power of giving to others and how that is so much better than receiving
Encourage them to reach out to the new widow in your neighborhood. Expose them to all ages, kids need to care about the elderly as well as the young! Teach them about compassion and love. It saddens me greatly to see children of the church who snub people or think they are better than anyone. I will not tolerate this in our home, we are servants of the Lord, not above anyone else!
Teach them about wonderful ministries to give to, even when they can only give pennies and prayers, because as they grow they will have it instilled in them and will have more to give!
Have gratitude Journals – we have journals where everyday during our school hours we write three things we are grateful for! Help them think outside the box. They don’t want to just put “stuff” down but everything from their church family, to a card that blessed them when they was down to being a child of God! Keep one yourself, it really does help keep you grateful!
Say NO! Your children don’t need every new gadget just because their friends have it or a huge birthday party every year. I know this isn’t always easy, but parenting isn’t easy. You will have to go against the grain and it will be difficult and often lonely but it will pay off in the end. There will be times you feel your kids hate you and family members will snub you and on and on but hear me when I say this: It will be worth it, it will!!! This culture is so heart sick and we have the power to change a part of that in our own homes but it will not be easy!! I truly believe there will be a day your kids will call you blessed and they will be grateful you were different! Hang in there until then!
It will be lonely – This is the toughest part! My kids often feel lonely. I am told on a daily basis what awesome kids I have . They are no perfect but they are different! This kind of different should be wonderful, but it is often lonely. We find even among believers it can be lonely, very few parents in today’s culture want to take this path. I once heard, the closer you get to the Savior, the lonelier you get. I certainly don’t think we have arrived in our spiritual lives or that we are better than anyone else but going against what the culture is teaching is HARD, really hard! We have to keep reminding our children and ourselves why we are taking this path. The reason is Jesus and doing this HIS way is the best way regardless of what the world tells us!
Kristen Welch just released a new book called: Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World: How One Family Learned That Saying No Can Lead to Life’s Biggest Yes, it is so so good and this book spoke to my heart like no other! It was like YES, YES, this is exactly the book every parent needs, the message that needs to get through to every family. I know many people think if we just elect the right president or have prayer in schools the world will be better. But truly friends, the secret is in this book! We need to change our own families, we need to win the hearts of our own, and we need to start a real revival because of it! That is what will change our nation and our world!
This is the parenting book of the year to get! You can buy it at Amazon, in paperback or for your kindle!
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