Choosing Gratefulness

Choosing to live a life of gratitude sure is harder than it sounds. Everywhere we go, everywhere we look, we are bombarded by our need more and need it now culture. Patience seems to be a rarity. Compassion is hard to come by. Gratefulness is a bit of a mystery. It’s so easy to be sucked into what society says about deserving more and better and it’s hard to step back and say “No. I already have all I need.”

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Kristen Welch, of We are THAT Family, gets it. Her book, Raising Grateful Kids in and Entitled World, launches on January 26. After reading just the first chapter, I knew this book was going to challenge me in some really uncomfortable ways. What I didn’t know when I started reading, was that the convictions I gained from the book would lead us to explore our entitlement as a family. I didn’t expect to implement new plans to combat that as quickly as we have. And I certainly never dreamed I would already see a difference in not only the kids, but the adults as well.

Choosing gratefulness is a big theme in our home right now. Showing the children how important it is to have a grateful heart is so important to me. I think nearly every time I ask them to do something they may not want to do, I end my request by saying, “and do it with a grateful heart.” Although I’m sure they’re getting sick of hearing it, it really is rubbing off.

Our new family motto that goes along with gratitude in a big way is “Less Stuff; More Adventure.” We don’t need more stuff. Do we want more? Sure, sometimes. Do we need to have more? No. So in living out our new plan, we’re making changes in the way we do birthdays. We’ve decided, as a family, to forgo gifts and instead have experiences. Our oldest, whose birthday is in a couple of months, is already thinking of some pretty awesome family adventures for us. He’s excited about the prospect of going somewhere new, so much so that the thought of all of the things he wants seems to have taken a backseat. We’ll do the same for our sweet girl when her birthday comes around in October. We’re going to be grateful for our time together, excited for new experiences, and grateful for all we already have.

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However, promoting gratefulness doesn’t mean that the entitlement monster is completely gone. A few weeks ago, I noticed that screen time was really eating into our day and that’s not ok with me. In talking with the kids, I figured out that they felt they deserved to have screen time. After all, they do their school work, daily chores, and help with their little brother. They’re entitled to have screens anytime they want, right? WRONG. Those little screens are a luxury, not a necessity, and I knew I had to change up those attitudes quickly. So now, after a bit of resistance, they must earn their screen time in increments of 20 minutes. There’s an official chart and everything. They are completing their responsibilities with much more grateful hearts AND they’re appreciating their electronics more than ever. They now understand that they’re not entitled to screen time just because they help around the house, and they’re much more grateful for the time they do get.

For us, choosing gratefulness also means taking an active role in caring for what we have. We are blessed to live in a warm, dry home, and one way to show our gratitude is to take care of it. That means chores every day for everyone, kids and adults alike. It’s easy to grumble about my third load of laundry in a day, but it’s more important to demonstrate my own gratitude, because doing laundry means our family has warm clothes to wear and I have a nice washer and dryer to help keep clothes clean. When the kids complain about a chore, I remind them how very fortunate they are to be in a position to have chores to do. I’m the first to admit that there are days when gratefulness is hard, but choosing gratitude means trying our hardest to see all that we have to be thankful for even on the hardest days.

Choosing gratefulness and fighting entitlement in our home is not an easy thing. It’s an important one, though, and it’s worth the struggle. I’m so hopeful that the choices we’re making now will impact our children for a lifetime. I’m hopeful that gratitude will win over selfishness and that having a grateful heart will beat out always wanting more. We have so many blessings. We have more than we could ever need. More than anything, I want my children to never lose sight of how very fortunate they already are, no matter what our culture tells them about having it all.

 

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Please join me on the #RaisingGratefulKids Blog Hop. Below you will find links to all of the FABULOUS blogs participating. There are some amazing articles here and I know you will enjoy them. Thanks so much for reading. I hope you’ll come back soon!

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
Let It Begin With Me – by Jen
Choosing Gratefulness – by Jennifer —–> You are currently HERE 🙂
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

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Jennifer Fox

19 Comments

  1. I love your family motto- it’s totally inspiring me to find one for us. Once my little guy is older, he will be earning his screen time as well. I love how Kristen Welch modeled doing that, instead of taking screen time away for bad behavior. Game changer! Thanks for sharing!

  2. So very proud of you and your whole family for all of the changes you are implementing. Don’t hesitate to include us in some of your changes as I’m sure we could use a little “tuning up” in our thought processes too! I think we have a bit of a head start based on necessity over the last few years. It does change your way of thinking.
    Love you very much!!

  3. I am on the book launch with you. I love your take: “What we really need is less stuff and more adventure!” Well done.

  4. We love doing “experiences” instead of stuff for gifts, and we’ve found that this extends to our niece and nephews, too. Spending time together, making memories, and avoiding unnecessary clutter and an entitled attitude – yes, please! Great post. 🙂

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