Grateful Parenting

I recently read an article which reflected on the ‘entitlement’ generation of today. This is the ‘gimme’ mindset of kids expecting everything to go their own way, and everything to be given to them when and how they want it. It is the expectation that you are owed something.

This is not a healthy way to live! If this is how you think, you will be disappointed and unhappy and begin to resent others until you change your mind-set to one of gratitude, thankfulness and appreciation.

It has taken me a long while to actually accept this concept. For me, when my kids were born, I expected that my parents, although living interstate at the time, would come when needed to give me help.

I needed a lot of help in the early days.

To the outside world, and to them, I was ‘a natural’ mother. But inside, I felt like I was falling apart. I felt like I was the one that needed looking after.

That’s when they decided to move overseas.

You can imagine how that felt. That sense of entitlement, of expectation and abandonment rose up within me. I lived with resentment and unforgiveness for a long time before I finally could accept my parents’ decision, which was a completely valid one, and an exciting one at that! I expected them to ‘rescue’ me in the midst of my terror, when what I really needed was God’s help.

He knew this. My parents listened to what God wanted them to do, discerned what His purpose was for them, and obeyed.

And so a season of reliance on God, rather than my parents or anyone else began, until I finally realised that despite the disappointments in life, God is always there loving you, looking after you, and wanting the best for you.

You are never alone.

I also knew that despite the fact that I didn’t like my parents’ choice, they also loved me.

Thankfully through Skype and twice yearly visits, the last 3 and a half years have gone by quicker than I anticipated. Their time abroad is coming to a close. Only 10 days until they return home! Although I’ve missed my parents being largely physically absent from the kid’s lives thus far, I believe it has been the best outcome for me, and, consequently, for my family.

God knew that I needed to grow in this area, learning trust, worth, purpose, gratitude and love, and there’s nothing like ripping a band aid off to get it over and done quickly.

It is best to learn from a young age that you are not owed something. Your friends or family may take directions in life that may not match up with what you had in mind. There will always be disappointments. That’s OK. It all seems to work out in the end – if you go with it – with an added bonus of strength of character.

Let’s endeavour to teach our children to foster a giving attitude, rather than spotlighting themselves and their own expectations. Let them struggle sometimes. Offering support as a parent is invaluable, but we can’t be there to always fix their problems. We can teach them how to confidently find their way through them, and emerge as stronger and happier individuals for it. This is hard work, but well worth the effort. It builds within them a strong sense of self-worth and purpose, and reinforces that irrespective of circumstances, they are loved to a capacity beyond measure.

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