Friday, October 10, 2008

Teaching Gratitude

Tonight I thought I would surprise my kids with the treat of a cookie from the cupboard. They had not asked for one, I just thought I would give it. As I pulled it out and broke it in half, my daughter's eyes watched intently.

"Would you like this?" I asked, holding out the cookie half.

"I want a whole cookie," she answered. My son, meanwhile, accepted his half and began munching.

Frustration flared up in me. Here I had sought to bless her by an unexpected treat and instead of being delighted like I expected she showed ungratefulness and greediness. She wanted more than the treat I was trying to give her. I had to admit I felt angry and justifiably so.

Yet, how often do we snub God in the same way? He offers an unexpected blessing: a pay raise or a day off or a quick return to health and we sigh and wish it had been better or longer or quicker? I know I have been guilty.

As a parent I felt so hurt tonight by her lack of appreciativeness for my gift. In payment for her bad attitude she was denied the cookie altogether and I tried to tell her how important it was to be content and grateful when someone tries to bless her. She cried briefly over the loss then forgot all about it. But hopefully this little lesson sticks eventually: gratefulness rather than greediness. Not to manipulate in order get what you want but to genuinely acknowledge the feelings of the giver and also to find the joy in being content with life and to see the blessings as benefits, not as something incomplete or unacceptable.

1 comment:

  1. Ouch! That's when the lesson is EXTRA hard on mom! Not only do you have to discipline the child, but then to be disciplined yourself in the midst of it all. Thanks for spreading the "love." -Jilann