How do I teach my children gratefulness? That is something as a parent that I continue to worry about for my children. We live in a society of materialism. My children have more than they need or even ask for at times and sometimes I wonder if they will ever see the bigger picture. You know the fact that it is not what you have but how you use it, react to it and how you reach out to others less fortunate.
It is hard to see the bigger picture when you never leave your own little world. If I can name some pivotal moments in my life it would be the two times I was able to travel on mission trips to both Mexico and Russia. I had the opportunity to reach out to children in need. In both countries they were very poor and had so little but they all had complete overwhelming gratefulness. I will always remember the joy those children had despite their circumstances.
I want my children to someday have the opportunity to experience the bigger picture. To realize they are a part of such a bigger world with other children who have so little in the way of materials. I don’t want them to feel ashamed of the blessings they have but to just appreciate them.
Our country is fixated on wealth. We hear people complain about those that have too much and those that have too little. We shame those in the 1% and we act ungrateful in the 99%. It is like we as a country have forgotten the bigger picture. We are blessed in comparison to so many in our very big world.
I’ll never forget the feeling I had when I came back to the United States from my trips. At first I did feel ashamed. I felt guilty for being able to get in a clean, warm bed at night. I felt like a glutton when I saw all the food that I had at my disposal whenever I was hungry. However, I realized that I had a new perspective in life. I needed to live a life of gratefulness and thank God for the opportunity to live in a country that blessed me beyond compare in such a big world.
I hope my children will one day get to travel to experience the bigger picture. Meanwhile, it is my job as a parent to remind them how blessed they really are. I know the best way to do that is to live by example in front of them. To be grateful for all that God has given me and never ask for more than I need. I refuse to put myself in any kind of percentage because when I look at the world around me I am blessed beyond comparison.