17 January 2016

Raising Grateful Kids

Today I am participating in a "blog hop."  Truthfully, I am not exactly sure what that means, but I do know that I am writing about Raising Grateful Kids In An Entitled World by Kristen Welch.  I have had the privilege of reading this book as part of the launch team.  And y'all are going to love this book.  For real.

Because, you know what?  It is hard to raise grateful kids in an entitled world.  And sometimes it feels awkward and lonely and unattainable.  Am I right?

This book has been such a good read; it has challenged me, encouraged me, and reminded me that we are not in this alone.  {You can go pre-order it here.}

While I feel that our boys are a pretty grateful bunch, I can see how it has been a hard fight to get here at times.  And I know without a doubt that it is an ongoing battle.

Beyond question, I feel our family has an advantage when it comes to being grateful because of our time as a military family.  Its hard to take simple things for granted when you go without them for long stretches of time.  A daddy reading bedtime stories before bed is priceless.  Visiting with extended family after being far away for so long cannot be undervalued.  Realizing God has brought you lifelong friends in a short period of time is a gift beyond measure.  Truly, our family gained so much perspective while living that life. I pray that the gratitude we learned there will always be woven into our family story.

Obviously, our involvement with the foster care community has given us a perspective that helps guide our boys toward gratitude as well.  Our older boys have been able to volunteer in the clothing closet and at Brad's work sorting donations for foster kiddos.  This has opened the door for so many conversations about children in difficult situtions. {And about why people donate junk, but that will be a separate blog post.} Being aware that there are kiddos in our own community that wish for nothing more than a family is a reality check for any child. While we do our best to not lay anything too heavy on our boys, and we try to keep our conversations age-approriate, we do not sugar coat the truth.

Even with these built-in perspective boosters, gratefulness is sometimes elusive.  We have to work for it.  And the work starts with Brad and I.   If we aren't grateful, our children won't be either. I love this quote from Kristen's book:

Through the book, at the end of each chapter, Kristen provides a "Going Against the Flow" list broken down by age group: parents, toddlers/preschoolers, elementary, tweens/teens.  I appreciate this because it helps me take inventory of how we are doing and gives me ideas for what we could try.  It is written in a way that gives guidance without condemnation.  I think these segments will be a blessing to each person that reads the book.  I have already found some suggestions that I would like to add in to our routine.

Here are a few practical things we do as a family to intentionally build gratitude and fight entitlement.

  1. We talk about God's goodness to us. A lot. Especially this past year as we bore witness to heavy grief.
  2. Our kids get an allowance each pay-period.  Sometimes when we are out + about they will ask for a treat, and I reply, "did you bring your wallet?"  This doesn't mean we don't get occasional treats, but it provides an instant check for the older boys to determine if they want to spend their own money on that milkshake.
  3. We sponsor a child through Compassion International. This is an easy way to inform your children about what life is like for kiddos around the world, and make a difference for a child in Jesus' name. 
  4. We have scaled back on gifts.  Our kids know they get three presents from us at Christmas and the older boys know our budget for gifts too {they've overheard me talk about it before.} This takes the pressure off of us as parents and lowers their expectations too.  A lot of these types of decisions bloomed during our journey to become debt-free.
  5. We read a chapter from Proverbs together every morning at breakfast.  We re-read it every month.  Its a simple way to remind us daily that Scripture holds truth for our daily lives. We each pick which verse we 'like' best each morning. This is a simple ritual that has become so dear.
Do not be fooled, we get this wrong all the time.  That's part of why I like this book so much.  Every stage of parenting holds new challenges and our culture is constantly changing.  Its important to remember that Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World isn't something we have to do alone.  We have a faithful Father that guides us toward gratitude. Its not hard to find a verse in scripture reminding us to be grateful.
 "Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever." Psalm 136:1 {NIV}

I think it is certainly something that gets easier with practice and with prayer.  If we continually seek His word, seek His guidance, and follow Him; we will find Him trustworthy and we'll be ever grateful.  Our gratitude will spill over to our children and Lord-willing they will be grateful too.

Click on these links to read more about what gratitude looks like in other families too!

Inspiring an Attitude of Gratitude - by Alison Rasisng Grateful Kids - by amanda Why You Can't Buy Gratitude At The Dollar Store - by Andrea Missing - Gratefulness in our home - by Ange Choosing Gratitude - by Angela Gratefullness - by chaley 5 Steps to Gratitude-Fille Family - by Christa Practicing Grateful Parenting - by Dana Sing a Song - by Hannah Cultivating gratitude in our family - by Jamie Gratefulness In Our Home - by Jana Gratefulness In Our Home - by Jana Let It Begin With Me - by Jen Choosing Gratefulness - by Jennifer Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World - The Book - by jeri Eradicating Entitlement - What are you rooted in? - by Jessica Gratefulness in our home - by Kate The Problem With Entitlement is that it begins with us - by Katelyn 7 Unusual Ways I Know How to Be Grateful - by Kathryn Raising Grateful Kids - by Keri How My Children Remind Me to Pray with Gratitude - by Kishona Grateful - by Kristy Entitlement: The Ugly Truth of a Beautiful Lie - by Leigha The Most Important Thing You Can Do To Raise Grateful Kids - by Lindsey Dear Son: How Do I Teach You To Be Grateful Without Guilt? - by Marie Osborne Gratitude, A Practical Definition - by Mia Cultivating Gratitude in Our Home - by Nancy Learning Gratitude through Chronic Illness - by Rachel Being Grateful - by Rebecca I've Found Something I Can't Live Without - by Sarah The Power of Naming our Gifts - by Sarah Outfitted - by Sarah Jo Growing Gratitude in our Family - by Sondra Teaching Gratefulness - by Stephanie How Grateful Looks From Here - by Alison Fighting Entitlement in Children and All of us - by Leah Entitlement Problem - by Karrie Grateful Today - by Krystal


  1. Thanks for sharing- as a Toddler Mom, I am just now putting teaching gratefulness into action. We do the 3 gifts at Christmas time as well- he gets so much from our extended family, I feel like 3 is plenty!

  2. I love the reading of Proverbs together! My husband and I have done that but definitely need to get the kids involved too!

  3. I love how you shared your perspective as a military family and also from being involved in the foster care community. It sounds like you guys are doing some wonderful things to instill gratefulness in your kiddos! Thanks for sharing!

  4. {empathizing as a fellow military mama!} The idea to ask if they brought their own money when they ask for a treat is terrific - my husband and I (in an attempt to better stick to a budget) have started doing the same thing with ourselves, since our "treat" budget is all cash. I hadn't really thought about extending that to our kids, though, once they're old enough!

  5. I love your practical ideas. So useful! Also, love how you share about being a military family- I admire military families so much!

  6. You have a beautiful family! I love all of your ideas - especially about the budgeting for Christmas and your reading of Proverbs. Is there a particular reason why you chose that one book to re-read every month. I know it has a lot of gems in it. :) Thanks for sharing! I'm in the book blog hop too.