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Dear Son: How do I teach you to be grateful without guilt?
This Christmas, you received so much. Fun toys and clothes and books and games. You said thank you to each giver with a passing glance in a rote, thoughtless tone, wanting to rush through the thanks and JUST OPEN IT ALREADY! (Understandable, who wants to talk when there are LINCOLN LOGS. Seriously.)
I tried to make you stop and take a moment. I did my best to make you look and notice the giver. I used conversation and moments of enjoyment to remind you of the preciousness of these gifts, these people. But you’re four, and you just want you some sweet Lincoln Log time. Less lessons on character, more log building, please, MOM.
I look at you and your sisters, and I can’t get over how incredibly blessed you are. Not just in stuff, but in people. I’m so grateful for you and so grateful FOR you. For the things you have and the people in your life, I am grateful on your behalf. Because I did not have these things or these people in my childhood, nothing like it. And I’ve seen people across the world who have even less than you and less than I ever did.
I want you to understand, son. I want you to know how incredibly blessed you are. How lucky to live this life, have these things, know these precious folks. To be loved and cared for and understood.
My gratitude for you, on your behalf, the gratitude I wish for you to learn, comes from my own lack of. From my experiences in not having. From a childhood without siblings or grandparents or cousins or a daddy, or JESUS. I deeply feel how beautiful and blessed your childhood is because mine was so very different, so much less.
But how do I teach you to be grateful without guilt?
To be thankful for these blessings without feeling sorry for me and what I didn’t have?
Trying to teach you this gratitude has exposed a weakness in my own. My gratitude seems to be based in comparison, as it should be to some extent. I’m thankful for my home as I drive by even smaller, more run down homes owned by lovely, hard-working people. I’m thankful for my food as I collect donations for those who often go hungry. I’m thankful for my safety as I see stories of people around the world whose lives are daily threatened by powers beyond their control.
But on the other hand, someone always has something MORE. I’m jealous when I drive by larger, more luxurious homes. I’m envious when I see people go on extravagant vacations. I’m down right grouchy when I hear of the way the fancy folks live.
You see, my muscles of comparison are pretty darn strong. I use them to find my grateful heart, but they also pull me into jealousy, envy, and covetousness. Generally nasty behavior.
I want you to be grateful without the guilt, son. And I want to, too.
I want to be grateful just because. Because God gave me this and I don’t deserve it and oh my goodness THANK YOU JESUS. Not because He gave me MORE than someone, but just because He gave.
This life can take so many things away, and I don’t want my gratitude to hinge on having more than others. I don’t want my gratitude to hinge on having plenty of food and reliable work and a healthy body. I want my gratitude to stem from love and understanding that none of us are promised or deserve anything in this life, and that’s what I hope I can teach you.
I don’t want you to feel guilty that you have more than someone else. I want you to feel great joy and gratitude that you have anything at all. Praising the name of the Giver.
It’s a difficult thing, this grateful life. I’m working on it on your behalf. I’m grateful raising you is forcing me to find this happy, praise-filled, thankful life without guilt or comparision. I thought I was teaching you to be grateful, but it turns out, you’re teaching me.
This post is part of the Raising Grateful Kids In An Entitled World blog hop. Check out some amazing voices below, and don’t forget to check out Kristen Welch’s new book, Raising Grateful Kids In An Entitled World only $10 on Amazon!
Inspiring an Attitude of Gratitude – by Alison
Raising 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
Gratefulness – by Chaley
5 Steps to Gratitude-Filled 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
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