Rumor has it that raising kids is quite possibly the hardest job on earth. And from watching and listening to my friends, I would have to say it’s true. While parents are busy trying to keep their children safe, healthy, and happy, how can the teach them to be grateful at the same time?
Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World, the new book from writer and blogger Kristen Welch, is out to give parents practical and easy ways to create an atmosphere of gratefulness in your home.
“But everyone else has it.” “If you loved me, you’d get it for me!” When you hear these comments from your kids, it can be tough not to cave. You love your children—don’t you want them to be happy and to fit in?
Kristen Welch knows firsthand it’s not that easy. In fact, she’s found out that when you say yes too often, it’s not only hard on your peace of mind and your wallet—it actually puts your kids at long-term risk. In Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World, Kristen shares the ups and downs in her own family’s journey of discovering why it’s healthiest not to give their kids everything. Teaching them the difference between “want” and “need” is the first step in the right direction. With many practical tips and anecdotes, she shares how to say the ultimate yes as a family by bringing up faith-filled kids who will love God, serve others, and grow into hardworking, fulfilled, and successful adults.
It’s never too late to raise grateful kids. Get ready to cultivate a spirit of genuine appreciation and create a Jesus-centered home in which your kids don’t just say—but mean!—“thank you” for everything they have.
To introduce you to Kristen’s new book, her lovely publisher sent us over an excerpt from it. Such great advice in this one little part of the book!
Check out this excerpt…
Perspective is one of the most important gifts we can give our kids (and ourselves). And service is one of the best ways to package it. Kids are like us—their perspective is based on what is in front of them. As parents, I think it’s our job to find ways to change how our children see the world by altering their view occasionally. If we see life through only one lens, we believe the misconception that everyone in the world has what we do, and our blessings start looking a lot like expectations.
When I’m able to offer my kids a change in circumstances, I am always amazed at their reaction to being uncomfortable, touched by their compassion, and inspired by their motivation.
A year ago, early on a Saturday morning, we loaded up the car and drove an hour to a government housing complex. Twenty-two apartment buildings line either side of a long street, home to more than fifty thousand refugees relocated to our city.
A few of my friends, along with our husbands and kids, had joined The Refugee Project to help clean up the “clubhouse,” where we help with a crocheting and knitting class for the refugee women.
There was plenty of work to be done on this workday. We sorted and scrubbed and swept. We filled holes in the walls and stocked the shelves with books. We taped and painted, mopped, and dragged piles of trash bags to the dumpster.
Our children worked together to wrap more than six hundred crocheted bracelets onto cards that were going into the next Fair Trade Friday membership box. The cards had the word Thrive typed across them. That’s the hope of The Refugee Project—that these displaced women will find a place in Christ and thrive.
I looked around the apartment and smiled at my family. Terrell, who hates to paint (at least that’s what he tells me every time I ask), was completing a masterful job painting a wall. My son was wrapping bracelets, sitting next to my youngest, who was winding yarn into balls. My teen was in the bathroom creating face-paint designs on little children, with a long line of customers waiting their turns.
I stood in the center of that room and thought, My children haven’t complained once. They haven’t asked for anything. They didn’t think of themselves while we worked hour after hour. They found a need and filled it. My next thought hit me so hard I had to blink back tears: Our family is at its best—our absolute best—when we are doing something for someone else.
When our hands are busy serving others, we aren’t thinking about what we don’t have. Instead, we are thankful for what we do have. We drove an hour away from our house to step into a different culture, and it broadened our worldview.
When you love others, you complete what the law has been after all along. The law code—don’t . . . always be wanting what you don’t have, and any other “don’t” you can think of—finally adds up to this: Love other people as well as you do yourself. You can’t go wrong when you love others. When you add up everything in the law code, the sum total is love.
Romans 13:8-10, msg (italics in original)
It was after four in the afternoon when we piled back into the car and headed home. “Do you remember the sixteen-year-old refugee girl who helped us wrap bracelets?” I asked the kids. They all nodded.
“She asked me if she could come to our class and learn to crochet like her sisters and mom and grandmother,” I said. “Because she also wants to earn money.”
“Doesn’t she go to school?” Madison asked. I explained that she did, but she wanted the money for something special. “She plays the cello and is very talented. She earned a scholarship for a music school but still needs more money to make her dream a reality.”
The car was quiet again. And then . . .
“Mom,” my twelve-year-old son broke the silence. “I loved today.”
My heart nearly burst with pride.
Kristen Welch, the author of Don’t Make Me Come Up There! and Rhinestone Jesus, is a busy mother of three who blogs about her life at wearethatfamily.com. She is also one of Dayspring’s (in)courage writers, a frequent speaker, and a regular contributor to Lifeway’s HomeLife and ParentLife magazines. Kristen lives in Texas.