I thought about that recently when my two oldest boys (ages 9 and 5) started grumbling as their mom was baking cookies for a special church function.
“You never make these for us!” they complained.
Never mind that the kitchen cabinet was full of other types of cookies they could eat, and that they get desert for virtually meal, and that mom also was busy preparing dinner – a fabulous meal all of us would soon enjoy.
No, they wanted the special cookies – the cookies they’ve never had — and they didn’t want anyone else to have them, either.
They then joined together to whine in unison: It’s not fair!
You can imagine how the subsequent parent-child conversation went. It included stories of starving African children who rarely get a full meal – much less desert and (definitely) not specially baked cookies.
By the time the conversation was over, our children were wishing they had never complained at all. And they could (nearly) point to Africa on a globe.
Of course, it’s easy to criticize my two sons for a moment of ingratitude. If we’re honest, though, we all have moments like that – moments when we lust after our neighbor’s new car, our friend’s new home, or simply the latest-and-greatest Best Buy gadgets. It’s a problem as old as, well, Scripture. When Jesus healed the 10 leapers, only one returned to give thanks (Luke 17:11-19).
How, then, can we instill a spirit of gratitude, thankfulness and contentment in our children? There are lots of ways to do it, but here are three ways to start: Continue reading