Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Blessings

Today, I had an epiphany. It hit me up side the head like a 2x4! WHAM! This whole lack of gratitude and not so thankful attitude that has been adopted by my 5 yr old...uh, hello, she learned it from me! And probably in a very inadvertent way. It's not like I'm blatantly ungrateful. Tonight as I was basking in my hot bubble bath, which I do every night (see...ungrateful), it occurred to me that God has blessed us over and over and over again so abundantly these last few months that I've kind of come to expect it in a way...? It's become such the norm that I'm not surprised and caught off guard by the blessings sometimes?

You know, I was just thinking to myself the other day, that Lexi (Ashton just isn't old enough to show it yet, but she's probably headed down the same self righteous path) just kind of expects surprises and gifts. When she gets something new, it's just not a big deal to her any more. She's like, "whatever". And as I was thinking about it, it REALLY bothered me because I don't want to raise a spoiled rotten brat that expects everything to be given to her without her having to lift a finger to earn it. I want her to appreciate what she has. She is old enough to do chores and old enough to earn some sort of a reward for doing those things, so that when she DOES get them, they are truly a blessing to her, not just something she expected would land in the shopping basket.

And yet, I am SO the same way with my Heavenly Father. I ask Him for something and when He comes through for me, oh, sure I say thank you, but do I really really really FEEL the attitude of gratitude in my spirit? Do I make a big deal of it and tell my children, "Look, look what God has done for us, look how He has provided this for us, isn't this a miraculous blessing, isn't God so good?" And in the same way that it breaks my heart to see my child be so complacent about her blessings, I believe He experiences that same feeling of sorrow when I overlook the blessings and just accept them as the "norm", the "expected" gifts.

I believe that we have become such an obese society, and I'm not just talking about food. But food is a good indicator for all of the other worldly possessions we tend to hoard and "eat up". And yet, do I have the desire to go on a materialism diet to go along with my actual weight watcher's diet? Well, if you mean, do I want to give it all up? Heck no. I like my stuff. BUT I do hope and pray that I will never again take for granted each and every blessing as it lands in my "shopping basket" and that my children will learn that blessings aren't things to be expected, they are a gift, and we are truly privileged to receive them.

I went to a birthday party recently and the birthday girl was so truly joyful over EVERY SINGLE PRESENT. It was so much fun to watch her! Her eyes would light up every time she opened something new. And sadly, my girls aren't like that. Because getting "stuff", for them, is like an every day occurrence it seems. Even though it may be junk from a $.25 cent machine! I want our eyes to light up in the face of a blessing. I want the birthday girl reaction! Doesn't our Heavenly Father deserve that same feeling of joy that I experienced when the birthday girl opened my gift, and her eyes lit up, and I could tell she was truly filled with gratitude for the gift she had just received?

Obviously, there are things we can do with our children to teach this attitude as they get older. I would love for our family, when my children are old enough, to serve as a family regulary in some form of a feeding kitchen or somewhere that my children can witness poverty first hand in their own community. And eventually when they are old enough, we will take family mission trips together, because I want them to be exposed to a view of the world that is much broader than they can experience in their home environment. But what can we do now, as parents of little ones, to get this in their heads, to learn NOW, not later, what it means to be grateful and thankful for what we have and for the blessings God heaps upon us daily? I'm listening. Bring it!

"Blessings crown the head of the righteous..." Proverbs 10:6

6 comments:

God's Girl said...

Great post! lot's of insight and wisdom.

This is so hard to instill in our kids b/c we live in such a materialistic society.

The first step, is less stuff, saying "no" more often, making getting new things a BIG deal and like you said, earning things.

I would try to limit "goodies" to every so often and definitely not every visit to the store b/c they will come to expect it.

Continue to teach them verses about gratitude. Just this weekend I was teaching my little ones about "where your treasure is there your heart will be also."

We really dug deep into the meanings of the verse. And then yesterday I was talking about losing the 10lbs. I have gained. And Parker said, "Mom, where is your treasure? Is it in your body or is it in heaven?" Of course, whe wasn't talking about something material, but it still goes back to thankfulness. Because I should be so grateful that I can walk and run (again) and am completely healthy. I digress! These verses are a great start.

And right a Grateful list everyday. Sometimes we just go around the table at breakfast (or in the car) and we each name 5 things we are thankful to God for. :)

I am thankful for you!

God's Girl said...

I can't believe I wrote - right for write! Sorry!

kristi said...

We totally feel the same way -- I think about our kids having things/us buying things that my parents never gave/bought for us.

I also think that my mom did not go back to teaching until I was a teen and my younger sister was in elementary school...so there is a money factor there I guess. My hubby has a job that pays well and we live on it and my part-time nurse income is extra. Extra lets us do extra stuff.

I try to budget our money & be careful about what we do spend money on....and not spoil our kids.

I do agree with you -- our world now is having the things we want when we want them and then we do not enjoy the surprises in life!

kristi said...

Here is a post from my blog....it is my task list I created for our kids for this summer. I felt like they needed to understand they had to contribute to tasks in the house and realize they would be rewarded for their hard work. We reward them with things we would normally do, but it teaches them they do not just get stuff!

link:
http://web.mac.com/kidnurse/www.web.mac.com_kidnurse/home_page/Entries/2008/5/18_2_Little_Pumpkin’s_Task_List.html

kristi said...

http://web.mac.com/kidnurse/www.web.mac.com_kidnurse/home_page/Entries/2008/5/18_2_Little_Pumpkin’s_Task_List.html

It didn't post right the first time....Try this : )

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you have exactly the right idea. I think you and Cary should make a sermon for the childhood ministry (and adults) on what you just related.
Love,
Dada G