Monday, November 17, 2008

I just want them to be grateful

Like every parent I want my children to be well behaved. I want them to use their manners, be respectful, kind, and friendly. I want them to be well adjusted and open to new experiences. I want much for my children.

But perhaps, more than anything I want them to be grateful!

A couple of weeks ago my in laws returned home after a 2 month RV trip across the country. Throughout the trip they sent postcards to the kids, a box of Halloween treats, and Zoe a birthday package. When we went to see them they had a bunch of goodies for the kids including t-shirts, geodes, book, snacks, and other little trinkets. After looking at everything my children then asked, "Is that all you brought me?" I am sure you can imagine the steam coming out of my ears. In the next sentence they did say "Thank You" without prompting, but it still didn't erase the ungratefulness that they had displayed.

Now for confession time. I think I am partly to blame for their ungratefulness. I am the enabler. I buys toys when we are at WalMart just because, birthdays and Christmas abound with presents, they choose multiple snacks when grocery shopping, we go to McDonalds frequently, they choose restaurants when we go out...I could go on and on.

But, I am proud to say, no more! With the economy the way it is, our family is trying to be more financially responsible, which means scaling back. Through these harder times, I'm hoping that I will teach my children to be more grateful for what they have and what they receive. They need to learn that everything costs something and you must live within your means. This means saying no to some things, saving up for things we really want, and enjoying what we are lucky to have.

As I hope to teach them this, I realize that I have to make sure that I am also displaying gratefulness. I admit that sometimes I am also be pretty ungrateful. I find myself often wishing for a certain outfit, purse, shoes, wanting to go out to eat so I don't have to cook, new things for the house...rather than being thankful that I have a variety of clothes and accessories, have food in the fridge and cupboard, and a warm, cozy house to live in. Not to mention a healthy, beautiful family!

Especially during this time of Thanksgiving I hope to take the time to be truly grateful for all that I have!

I want to teach my kids gratefulness through my words, choices, and actions!


  1. Many times I find myself worrying about the same thing. When I can indulge her every whim so easily how do I teach Princess to be grateful for what she has? Then we find ourselves with a little brat on our hands and know it is time to set some limits, or practice restrain just for the same of practicing it.

    You caught onto this at just the right time. For the rest of the year there are many opportunities to teach about giving and gratitude. Hopefully we'll both be able to pass these virtues onto our children.

  2. Great post! It's so important to teach these things to our children. We have had to remind ourselves to do this with our son and it really does make a difference!

    We also found that teaching him about the concept of money and letting him buy some things with his own money has taught him to be more choosy. He now thinks some things are a waste of money.

    Another good lesson (that I haven't really done yet) would be to show them that the world is full of children who have so much less than we have. My son is always amazed by that concept.

    Have a wonderful week!

  3. Oh, kids. On Halloween, Chachi would walk up to a house and if she didn't like the candy they were giving she would ask if they had anything else.

    I would much rather have this happen with my Parents than my neighbors!

  4. We've been doing the same things. I think I say yes too much. And my parents always bring "I love you gifts" when they visit, and I hate how my kids expect them. But what can you do.

  5. Excellent post! I know this is going to be a much slimmer Christmas this year and I am hoping to have the same result.

  6. Hi Mel,

    Thanks for stopping by my blog from Abbily Ever After and for the nice comment!
    I'm so with you in regards to wanting your children to be grateful for everything that's given to them. It's nice to find someone else that understands the importance of that:O).

    Take care and have a wonderful week!


  7. this is a great post Mel. being grateful is a skill that always needs to be practiced but i don't do it as often as i should.

    one thing i do with my kids is in the month before their birthdays and christmas, i ask them to go through their things and part with what they no longer wear/play with/want anymore. i do not give them anything for these occasions but others do (especially my mother no matter how many times i ask her not to) and so they always end up with so much.

    what they sort out is then given to a local charity - usually goodwill or a homeless shelter. it is a good twice yearly reminder to think of others especially at a time when they are most likely to be thinking about themselves or their wish list. it helps remind them to be grateful for what they have and what they receive.

  8. I hear you Mel! It's so easy to give our kids everything they want and then they began to expect it. Happened to me as well. I had to step back and start saying "no' or "did you bring your money". I also have my kids write thank you notes when they receive gifts. What an awesome post. :)

  9. I understand this too well. My kids are the same way sometimes, then we stop buying them all the extra stuff for a while and they get better, then I start buying again. I need to just stop for good except birthdays and Christmas really. They have so much stuff already.

  10. It is so hard. My daughter is little, not even 18 months old yet, but I worry about her amount of stuff. She has so much. Is it possible to be grateful when you have everything you can imagine? I don't think so, and it's more my fault than anyone's.

    This is a good topic for some on-going discussion.

  11. Oh sometimes I just cringe at some of the things Big D says - I wonder where on earth he picked it up.

    I keep trying to work with them and teach them to be thankful, so I'm right there with you.

  12. Great ideas Mel. Makes me think too. I know that my parents made me work for money to buy stuff. It always made me more grateful for the things I had. We too, give away toys at Abraham's bday and Christmas so that he doesn't have an overwhelming amount of toys. I hope that he becomes a kid who is grateful also.

  13. I hope for the same thing. And it really is a process with children...and even adults. And you just never know when they'll surprise you with gratitude you didn't see coming.

  14. I love this post!

    We're surrounded in Mozambique by people who have so much less than we do, yet we still find things to complain about.

    I am so often whiny around my child, and my resolution is to change this - to have an attitude of gratitude, so to speak.

  15. I'm planning on writing about this same topic Monday at 5 Mins for Parenting. I may link to you, as well. Great thoughts - so often when I want to know why Bean does something I don't like, I find that $#@* finger pointing right back at ME. Ugh! But it's good we can still learn, and help our kids learn, too, from our own mistakes.


Go ahead...tell me like it is!

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