I feel like we’re working really hard to raise grateful kids. We always talk about our blessings and our extra, we make it a point to have conversations about why we give and share and help others.
Unfortunately, I don’t think any of it is working.
When we completed those stockings a few weeks ago for our church drive, Harper lost her mind in the Hallmark store when she realized she was picking out stuff for someone other than herself. She’s four, it happens. Once we got home, she got over it.
Sort of. Eventually.
I will admit, those little Itty Bittys are pretty cute and Santa is getting some for stockings. But still, there was a giant fit about sharing.
This weekend the girls started working on their Christmas wish lists. Among the toys and books and millions of Shopkins requests, Ellie wrote down: “Cell phone, my own room, and one hundred dollars.”
Like she’s fourteen instead of six.
I told her I shared a room with my sister until I was thirteen and that she had a long way to go before she got her own space or a cell phone. I could have really blown her mind by telling her I didn’t have a cell phone until I was eighteen, but that was mostly due to the fact that cell phones weren’t really a thing when I was younger. Sure, a couple kids had Zach Morris style phones and my dad had a giant car phone that came in a freakin’ briefcase, but those were exceptions, definitely not the norm.
Oh, and did I mention she’s SIX?!
I sometimes still have to wipe her butt. She’s not getting a cell phone.
The next day, Harper (who can’t write yet), was telling me her list and that’s when things got really out of control. Her list is, and I quote, “A big Jeep that I can drive on the real road. One thousand dollars and a Ninja Turtles blanket.”
This from the kid who took thirty-six cents to Lowes last weekend and asked what she could buy. My kids have no concept of money, but Harper wants a grand? Um, no.
When Chris heard her list, he said that was his list too. Double no, Chris Graham.
It’s just reassuring to know that all the sharing and modeling and gratefulness we’re practicing is rubbing off. At night as I put the girls to bed, I pray with them, thanking God for all that we have and reiterating that we are in need of nothing as we snuggle into our beds with full bellies in heated rooms.
And my four year old wants a Jeep to drive on the road.
Why am I telling you this? Because kids ruin everything. I try to be all content with what we have and buy less stuff every single year and then my darling daughters ask for cars and loads of cash like they haven’t been listening to anything we’ve been saying. Because I write about being real and honest with you and honestly, my kids are just as selfish as everyone else’s. And they’re just as selfish as me, really. So we’re all a work in progress. Especially those little brats.
But I also know that I can’t stop pushing for gratefulness and contentment and less stuff. I know that one day, all my blabbering will sink in and they’ll (hopefully) get what we’re talking about and what we want to be about and willingly live it too. I guess that’s what we all wish for our kids, that they’re listening even though we feel like they aren’t. That they’re just filing away our actions and prayers and passions so that one day when they start deciding who they want to be, they’ll have a starting point that isn’t too messed up. A starting point that is better than us.
Maybe that starting point looks like a Jeep and a Ninja Turtle blanket, who even knows.
Hang in there Mary! Keep being a great model for your daughters. Joy + gratitude go hand in hand and from your blog it looks like you have some very joyful girls 🙂
Thanks for your encouragement, Brooke! They are joyful so that’s a positive for sure. 🙂
It would be cute to get her a small toy Jeep, a GRAND candy bar and of course, a Ninja Turtle blanket. Ditto for Dad.
Hahaha, great idea! I did order the blanket, I can do that. Maybe the Jeep should be next. So creative, Danielle!
If the Compassion International Experience ever comes to a church near you, I highly recommend you go as a family. Sometimes a glimpse into what reality is like for others is very eye-opening, for all of us, not just the kids!
I also think those requests are very, very normal at that age.
I think they’re pretty normal too; it’s very humbling to realize your kids are just like everyone else’s. HA!
I have heard about the Compassion International Experience and would love to take the girls. Last time it was here, they were way too young and it wouldn’t have been worth it. Such a good recommendations, thanks, Gloria.
Oh, Mary, what a delightfully real post about how our children shock us with their ideas and wishes. Thanks for this sharing! Hang in there!!
Thanks, Pam. 🙂
Susan Cruickshank says
I so enjoyed your article! It went way down deep to the place in me that knows and it said, “YES!”
Your words give me hope.
You also are a really talented photographer.
Thanks, Susan! You’re very kind. I can’t take credit for the photograph though, that was a professional photographer. I don’t have those skills. 🙂