Have you ever felt like your kids think they deserve everything this world has to offer them…but they refuse to work for any of it? Do your kids ever struggle with entitlement or a lack of gratitude?
That’s been the struggle at my home the past few weeks.
Every Saturday morning, we ask our kids to help clean the house. They’re four and seven so they aren’t able to do a whole lot, but they’re certainly able to help some.
We have asked them to help with the floors: sweeping, vacuuming, or mopping (their choice between the three).
What’s amazing to me is that every single week (without fail) it’s a fight to get them to help.
Every. Single. Week.
You’d think they would know by now that whining is not going to work. A fit won’t change the facts. They will have to do their chore whether they like it or not.
It’s not like I’m asking them to clean our entire home, top to bottom. It’s not like I’m asking them to give up hours and hours of their Saturday morning.
Even still, it’s a fight each week to get them to help.
So when I saw that Kristen Welch had a new book out called Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World, I knew I needed to read it ASAP.
What I expected to find in the book was tips to help teach my kids to be more thankful for the things they have. I expected to get some suggestions to help break down the sense of entitlement that my kids were displaying.
What I didn’t expect to get was a kick in the tail over my own feelings of entitlement.
In the book, Kristen shared about a time when she visited an orphan-led home in Kenya. While she was there, she met a little boy named Vincent. Here’s the story from Kristen’s perspective:
I will never forget standing in Vincent’s home, which was the size of my master closet. Water dripped on my head in the dark room as he lit a candle and explained how he walked an hour to school each way and cared for his little brother because his parents were both dead. As he told us about his life, he smiled from ear to ear with joy.
“How can you be so happy?” I asked as I looked around at all he didn’t have.
“I have Jesus. He is enough,” he answered confidently.
His answer was my undoing. Because I had Jesus, too, but He wasn’t enough for me. I wanted more—more money, more stuff, more to fill the emptiness.
Reading that story was like being punched in the gut.
I have Jesus too…but there are many times (far too many times) when I don’t act like He’s enough for me either.
I’ve written a lot here about my desire for another child. There are times that I think, “If only God would give me a baby, then I would be happy.”
Maybe you have something similar in your life. If only I could have …., then I’d be happy.
The thing is, I shouldn’t need another baby to be happy.
I have Jesus. That SHOULD be enough.
I shouldn’t need another child, more money, an easier lifestyle, a more flexible budget, more vacations, or anything else for that matter.
I have Jesus. That should be enough.
So maybe the source of my kids’ sense of entitlement is a lot closer to home than I want to admit.
Maybe the real problem is me.
Because the truth is, they’re learning from me. If I’m not content with the things and life that I have, how can I expect them to be content? If I’m constantly looking for something to fill a void in my life, why do I expect anything different from them?
In her book, Kristen said this: “The cure to our kids wanting more starts with teaching them to be thankful for what they already have.” (18).
I would add this…the cure to our kids wanting more is teaching the parents to be thankful for what they already have. Because our kids are following us.
And I, for one, really want my kids to grow up with an attitude like Vincent’s: “I have Jesus. He is enough.”
What do you think? Do you struggle with entitlement? Do your kids?
Want to read more great posts about this particular book? I’m excited to join the Blog Hop for #RaisingGratefulKids by Kristen Welch.