We had just arrived at our nice hotel in the Amazon jungle, a trip we’d enjoyed before but this time we were going to go deeper in and visit with the indigenous indians. I was so excited because for years I’ve wanted to return, but either we had a baby and it’s not recommended to take babies to the jungle or we didn’t have the money.
One of my boys walks into our very awesome cabin in the jungle surrounded by monkeys and then it begins–his walk down the me, me, it’s all about me path.
Moms I”m sure you know where this is headed. Before I know it, he’s having a full blown whiney melt down.
You didn’t give me… I want this…
When our kids walk around with entitlement colored glasses they can’t see the beauty and blessings. They can in a matter of seconds turn into mini bottomless pits and nothing can satiate their hunger. They want more. More eating out, more vacations, more summer camps, more lessons, more video games, more toys, more stuff, more, more and more. At this point, the line of wants and needs is so blurred, they don’t even notice it. They want everything handed to them and it’s everyone else’s responsibility to deliver for them.
Have you ever seen your kids go there? Or even come close to it? It’s not pretty.
Oh, gratitude where are you? I wish I could tell you that this happened years ago, back when they were very little. But it didn’t, it just happened last week. So, don’t fret when your kids are having these moments and you just want to bang your head on the wall because you feel like a complete failure. No, your kids are just learning to express themselves. Learning to navigate their desires and their needs and it’s our job to steer them in the right direction every single time, over and over again. Don’t let it go, just once. Nip it in the bud each time.
The Brain and Gratitude
The brain fascinates me and the more I read and study up on it, I’m convinced and encouraged by all the new research that points to the ability our brain has to build new neural pathways. My kids will have tantrums, whine, complain and go into entitlement mode but the more I redirect them and help them to on their own come to the realization that gratitude gives birth to joy, those pathways begin to develop. The more they do this, the brain will then automatically take them down this route. And that my friends is every parents hope!
So on to gratitude!
Gratitude is like sunshine, it spreads and there’s no hiding it. And that’s my hope, I want our summer to be filled with gratitude! I want to be filled with joy in abundance because of the many little gifts, I’ve counted along the way.
Summer time is like Christmas, where kids think it’s all about them. What are we going to do for them, what activities we are going to plan for them, what trips are we going to take for them. What am I going to do to keep them from getting bored… If our summer was filled with things where they were constantly taking and not giving. I would only be encouraging selfishness if my kids only found themselves in a position where they are constantly receiving and not giving.
Reminding my kids that summer is filled with many opportunities to look around us and be thankful for all the little gifts we’ve been given, is my biggest hope. I love summer because it’s a time where I feel empowered as a mom.
I GET TO 100% fully pour into the lives of my children. Of course, this happens throughout the school year but during the summer–I get them all to myself.
I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure out what character traits to focus on with my kids this summer. I love summer because it’s the time we have as parents to focus on instilling and practicing character with our kids.
Happiness can only be achieved by looking inward & learning to enjoy whatever life has –and this requires transforming greed into gratitude. ~St. John Chrysostom
Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World
This is what we have planned: (I’ll have links to each of these as we move along the summer and I’ll come back an update this article) I’ll let you know when we’ve updated it all via our subscribers newsletter you can subscribe here:
- Gratitude Family Journal we are calling it our Awesome Summer Gratitude Journal go check out the free printable!
- Reading books about Generosity, Empathy, Kindness and Sacrifice
- Gratitude Photo Scavenger Hunt
- Random Acts of Kindness – Handing out fresh flowers to people waiting in the hospital. Write thank you cards. Here’s a long list of random acts of kindness summer ideas or this I Spy Random Acts of Kindness Jar or this Acts of Kindness Coin Jar!
- Count Your Blessings Dinner Song
- Make a Wants and Needs list and then go through your needs list and be thankful for those needs that are met.
- Go on a gratitude walk or hike. This is a great article with some ideas to practice gratitude and enjoy some physical activity.
- Send thank you notes.
- Put them to work around the house. I shared before that we don’t pay for our kids to do chores that’s just works best around our house, I share here about it. But they do get paid for job so they want using their Saving. Spend. Give system.
- I Like Game— At the dinner table or walk around your house and take turns saying what you like in that room. It has to be something you can see. You can even do this outside. This helps your kids start thinking about the abundant life they live.
- Why? Gratitude Game— Come up with topics before hand that each team will answer “Why?” they are thankful for this item. Each team has to come up with a reason which makes you think and get creative. Come up with topics that are creative and things like–dirt, death, trash…
Let gratitude be birthed in your home today!
Other post you’ll enjoy:
What parent doesn’t deal with this? Kid Friendship Dilemmas–I’m not your friend anymore.