The Little Matchbox Car
For as long as Dan & I have been together & talked about having children, we always knew specific things we wanted to teach them. Like how to be respectful, how to stay humble, how to keep your promises, how to be grateful, how to be honest, how to love others as Christ loves us, how to forgive when you've been hurt. And several other important traits to have. But here lately the "how to be grateful" one is what we are working on.
I won't lie, this parenting thing can be hard.
I think we can all agree that we are so spoiled here in America & as the years go by, it only gets worse. I sometimes think what life will be like when my children become adults!?!
I never want any of my children to grow up being ungrateful. When I think of the word ungrateful, I also think of the word miserable. I want my kiddos to be happy & being happy means being grateful.
As parents, we never know when in our children's life a lesson will need to be taught. They don't teach that in the Baby Wise book ... or at least I don't think so!? I never read it so maybe I'm missing something ;).
. . . .
It was a few days after Christmas when I noticed that in this season of life, the grateful trait needed to be our main focus.
It was when I heard Cooper make comments about his Christmas gifts like ... well, I wish I would've gotten the red NC State Helmet & I wanted two wolves, not the symbol. For several days I listened to him make these little comments. I never got mad, but I would call him out on it. In my mind I was thinking "this child just got so much stuff for Christmas that he asked for, why is he acting this way!?"
Cooper is the sweetest little boy. He's tenderhearted, loving, giving & would do anything for anybody so it was so hard for me to see him acting this way.
One day he had went to my mother-in-love's house for a little bit & I get a text from her that says "I'm going to go find Cooper some Panther decals for his helmet." I texted back & said "No, that's the one he asked Santa for & he's keeping it like it is." She of course, agreed. As hard as that was for her! He got home a little later & I went up to his room, told him to put all his toys away & to go get one matchbox car. [Yep, I was THAT mama.] I sat him down on his bed & assured him that he wasn't in trouble but that he had to learn to be grateful. That he has SO many toys to play with & some children in the world only play with dirt all day ever day, that he has 3 different team jerseys when some children in the world have no shirt on their back. Tears just rolled down his face [not "pitching a fit" tears but tears of sadness] as I told him that for the rest of the day the only thing he could play with was that little car. He could take it outside, downstairs, to the playroom ... wherever but that had to be the only thing he played with. And y'all, when the tears started rolling, this mama's heart broke. I knew in that moment that he wasn't intentionally being ungrateful but still, it's mine & Dan's job as his parents to teach him not to be.
The day went by & several times I walked by his room & he was sitting in the floor playing with that little car. He took it everywhere he went that day.
Later that evening he came to me & said "Mama, I've learned my lesson." And of course I made him explain to me exactly what that lesson was & he said "that I need to be happy with all the toys & stuff I have because some kids in the world only have a little car like this to play with."
A lesson was learned. And not only by him, but by Millie Jo too. She saw her big brother play with that little car all day & she will now come up to me & say "I love all my toys, Mommy." :)
Being grateful is something that we have to teach our children ... just like all the other positive traits we want them to have. I don't want to give my children every single thing they want. I want to make sure my kiddos hear me say "thank you" to them & to others. I want them to know to say "thank you" when something is given to them ... whether it be a gift, prayer, compliment, etc. And I want them to have a servants heart & give to children that do only have one car to play with.
I'm not saying he won't ever have an ungrateful moment again but my prayer is that whenever he starts to feel that way, he will think about that little matchbox car.