I have been struggling with the issue of gratitude in out house for quite some time now. My kids just seem to be growing up without an appreciation for all they have. I could blame America, or our parenting, or a million things, but I fear it is my fault. Cause frankly, I struggle with being content with all God has blessed me with. And he has blessed my socks off. So, it hit me last night during a heartbreaking conversation with my daughter that I am not doing a good job teaching them that we are incredibly blessed. Despite the fact we don’t have a Wii.
Ever since I have returned from the Dominican Republic I have struggled with this. I want to be happy without being surrounded by material possessions. I want my face to glow like the faces of the women who had very little, but they had Jesus. But the fact is I am surrounded by people with “more” and the message that “more” will make me happy. And let me be quite clear. I am surrounded by many, many, many people with much less, but somehow my eyes stay fixated on those with bigger houses, better cares, more expensive purses. (seriously, that purse thing is just pure silliness)
What makes me sick inside is that Lily is reaching the age where she is noticing what other people have. The fact is, there are many people at her school that have a lot of money. We are talking “bowling alley in their houses” kind of money. Ok, so only one person has a bowling alley in her house (she is an heir to a very large company), but still, Lily knows it. And when you go to playdates at houses that are three times the size of our more than big enough house, you notice. And then I think, does she know that I am insecure when someone pulls up in their Cadillac Escalade after leaving their gated community to drop my daughter off from my playdate?
Please know, I am being brutally honest. I hesitate to share too much of my conversation with Lily last night because it was heartfelt and honest and difficult. But it was with a seven year old looking around at things other people have and wondering why she doesn’t have them. I wanted to be disgusted and upset with her, but instead I was convicted and ashamed of myself. Cause my statements might be more refined then “how come we’re poor?” but the sentiment is the same. Ugh.
So last night, we decided to start a gratitude journal. Yes, I got the idea from Oprah. Yes, she makes me want to barf, but Lily needed a crash course in understanding that her life is incredibly blessed. Let’s put aside the money thing for a moment. She has two parents who love each other and love her. She has two siblings who are healthy and happy and adore her. We have a roof over our head and food on our table. As I am typing this post I just got an email about an acquaintance who is in the midst of end stages of cancer, leaving behind two girls not much older than my own. We are ridiculously blessed.
So we are focusing on our blessings. I was thrilled to see her list from last night. Thanking God for a daddy who works so hard to provide for her. Thankful for her school, which is Christian and private, and requires some sacrifices so our children can attend. Thankful for her cool mom (who can argue with that?). But tonight, after a rough day at school and a rough night at home, gratitude was harder to come by. But I told her she needed to come up with three things because gratitude is important when we feel gracious and when we don’t. I am not sure who this is benefitting more. Her or me……
This post is linked up to Finer Things Friday at Amy’s Finer Things.