Monday, April 29, 2013

A Small Step to Raising Thankful Kids

Thankfulness doesn't come naturally to children, at least from what I've observed these past 3+ years of being a mother.  "Thank yous" need prompting and some days I'm unsure how to reach her heart so she will view her every day blessings not as expectations, but as gifts from God.  Did we have a dry, safe bed to sleep in last night?  A gift.  Did you get to play on the playground with a friend?  Another gift.  What about that yummy breakfast, lunch, and dinner you ate?  Keep counting those gifts!  The list goes on and on and on. 

I read Ann Voskamp's post sharing insight on how to help raise grateful kids and raising happier kids.

I love this...

Because what will the math really matter if they are bitter?
If the house is immaculate — but my attitude a mess?
If they can count — but they don’t know how to count all things as joy?
If we get the lists done, but have lost happiness in Him?
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Phil. 4:8).
Focusing on what is beautiful, good, true –isn’t this the truest education?
So this past week, Addison and I began counting gifts.  I started by weaving the term "gifts from God" and being thankful throughout our days.  Then one night before bed I gave her a very special notebook and described to her that we are going to start writing down our gifts.  She was very excited and had many ideas!  I wrote down exactly what she said.  This week we are starting to keep our book close by throughout the day so we can write down gifts as we recognize them.  At the end of each day I write "Mommy is thankful for...." and I focus on a character trait that Addison displayed throughout the day.  Was she extra kind to her brother?  Did she share her toys?  Did she listen first time when I said it was time to come inside?  I'm hoping to show her that gifts are not always tangible items.  And soon I'll start talking to her about the not-so-fun parts of life that are also gifts (ex. laundry!). 
I'm looking forward to finding more ways to help her view her life through the lens of "I don't deserve this" and everything truly is a gift in hopes that she will BE the gift to others.