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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

But HOW?

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately.  Thinking about the kids and how to "make" them be better.  The long bouts of fussing and whining when I tell them to clean the playroom. Or the grumbling when I serve something for dinner that they don't think looks good. Or the complaining that their room is too cold even though they have mounds of blankets upon their beds.  

They just don't know how blessed they are.

There are poor kids in the world that don't HAVE toys.
There are poor kids in the world that eat out of garbage cans.
There are poor kids in the world that don't have a bed at all, or even a home to live in.
There are poor kids in the world that don't even have a FAMILY.

We are rich with abundance and we don't even know it.  We think about the things we yet want and can't have and feel sorry for ourselves. There's always more. More, more more.  It started in the Garden of Eden with that tree of fruit and continues through to today.

My prayer lately has included "Thank you, God. We are truly so very blessed."

But how do I help my children to see it??  To be more globally-minded, so they can have a heart of compassion and thankfulness instead of that of ingratitude.  I feel like every day I TELL them that there are kids eating out of dumpsters and so forth, but how do I help them to KNOW it?  Do we study other countries? Hang maps up everywhere? Do we sign up to sponsor a child through Compassion? Do we watch videos? Or do we just wait until they're older and plan a mission trip together as a family? Or do we keep it simple and make our lists of thanks every day without truly knowing what we have to give thanks for?

ALTHOUGH God commands us in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 to give thanks in ALL circumstances.  True gratitude gives thanks even in the homeless, dumpster diving, ill-stricken, broken moments we call life.  Still though a dose of perspective is needed now and then. So how do I provide that perspective for my children?

I sincerely am asking, because I do not know.


Randi S said...

I think all of those are good ideas. We sponsor two kids through World Vision; I haven't really taught the kids about it yet, but I want to. Right now I just say we pray for them.

But maps are a great way. Your kids are so intelligent that maybe pictures, a little internet research could help them better understand the dire situations that other kids face. :) Sorry I'm not much help but hang in there mama! Seriously, any of those are great ideas.

Anonymous said...

You don't have to go on a mission trip to serve! You can serve right where you are by praying for people who you encounter every day. Do you ever pass a homeless person on the road? An elderly person who cannot walk well...and you see them struggling to do their grocery shopping? Do you ever see a child in Walmart or any other store who is being mistreated...or see signs of obvious neglect? Do you ever see someone in the car next to you who you can tell that they need a prayer? Be prayer warriors for these people right where you are. Teach your children to do this by praying for those people...so easy to do in your car after you've seen someone who needs it. How awesome it is to be able to call God to their life right then and there.

Your children will get it. If not right now...they will remember you doing this and they will think to do this also.

Don't feel pressured right now to make them get it. They are children and their little brains are almost unable to process this because as a child everything is about "them". It is hard to over ride this natural state of mind for them right now.

You are doing a great job, take it easy on yourself. You're a great mother.

- a faithful reader in Texas

Anonymous said...

Read this great post on the mission of a mother:


- faithful reader in Texas

Kathy said...

First of all, do not be discouraged ... it's natural for kids of this age to act in this way and takes YEARS of teaching and training in order for it to really sink in. Also, I have found that it's often the gift of my time and my patience that brings about the greatest change in my kids. When I'm impatient and barking orders at them they end up in tears and total frustration. When I clean with them, listen to them, work alongside them we ALL accomplish a lot more. I know it's not always possible as a Mom, but just saying that it has helped for me.

The Fischer Family said...

I agree that you don't have to go far. We have devastating poverty in our own country, most of us just don't realize it! Do you have a homeless shelter or soup kitchen nearby? Your kids are probably too young to go inside yet, but going down to the area and talking about how Jesus told us to care for the poor and these places do this by feeding and sheltering these people.

I think adopting a child through Compassion or World Vision is a great idea. I hope to do this with our kids now that they are getting older. Using maps and watching movies about the world can help.

Maybe you can even work with the kids to save money to buy a goat or chickens, etc from Heifer International. You can find their website at heifer.org and what they do is truly amazing around the world!

This is something we plan on doing in the near future too as our kids are really starting to get the "gimme's" really bad! Please know you aren't the only one who struggles with this. I think it's part of being born with the all the opportunities and privileges we are born with in this country!

God Bless!

In Light of the Truth... said...

Thanks everyone!! But I seriously live in the smallest, most rural little town. We don't have shelters or soup kitchens or homeless people on the corners. We have one-lane traffic so we don't notice who's out driving. I don't see elderly people out walking. And I've never actually witnessed someone clearly being mistreated. Maybe we'll do Compassion or World Vision and save coins for the heifer project. I forgot about that one and would love something tangible like that!

~Amanda said...

I think that before your kids can appreciate serving and donating time and resources, they have to learn how to be grateful in their own setting. Someone above pointed out the natural egocentricity of kids that age, and it's so normal. I think that you can start out really small and really simple, with comments and observations modeled at home. "Aren't we lucky to have so many toys to choose from? Should we play with this or that?" Naming two things we are grateful for at meals or prayer time. Rotate through toys (box some up and put them away for a while) and then when you get them out and they play with them, ask them or point out how thankful they seem to have that toy to play with again. I notice differences in my kids' comments right away, and then there are opportunities to expand. When they make a comment of gratitude or compassion, then ask them what ideas they have for doing that for others, because of the different examples in the Bible that guide us to do those things. That book by Susie Larson gives really great ideas for this. You could easily focus on a particular trait and script out some things for yourself to say at first, and soon it becomes much more natural and you don't have to think ahead any more. Your head is in the right place, wanting to teach these things to your kids, but I think the best way for them to learn is still to see them modeled right now. I just don't think that their sweet little heads are mature enough yet for things like mission trips, etc.

In Light of the Truth... said...

Thanks, Amanda! You are so sweet! Great ideas!

Anonymous said...

If you are wanting to instill thankfulness in your children, it starts with YOU. If you are not cheerful and thankful, they never will be. I really believe that is the only way to develop thankful children. I'm not saying it's easy, just essential.