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As we loaded into the car moments later, I had a number of things on my mind to say.  Number one on my list: “There will be no sighing at me!”

Now God has blessed us with three well-behaved, well-mannered boys who happen to love school.  That is no accident. We have worked pretty hard on achieving that goal for the last 12 years. But as any parent knows, you simply do the best you can and leave the rest to God.  Results are neither promised nor guaranteed.  So, I appreciated the fact that he wanted to get there early.  What I didn’t appreciate was the attitude.

So, once in the car, I told all of them that I didn’t want to hear any more sighing.  I appreciated that he wanted to get to school early, but he needed to appreciate the fact that I had some matters to take care of and since I happened to be the adult in charge, I would be using my best judgment to decide what needed to happen when.

Read: Every Mom Needs An Oxygen Break

But then the epiphany came. I encouraged him that instead of being upset that he wasn’t as early as he wanted to be, that he and his brothers should focus instead on their many blessings!  Not the least of which was the very fact that they were being driven to school at all.  Let’s not take that for granted.

As parents in today’s world we give our children so much, so freely.  In light of that, we need to be really deliberate about cultivating an attitude of gratitude in them and ourselves.  In a world where $300-$500 gaming systems for children are common place; $300-$1000+ worth of computers are  often readily available in many American homes; expensive clothing and footwear is bought regularly (we don’t do that one); and cable TV is not seen as a luxury, but as a baseline necessity, we have to teach them to be thankful children, not just expectant consumers.  In short, we parents have got an obligation to keep it real!

It can be as simple as reminding ourselves and our children that saying grace before eating a meal is not just a formality.  It should actually be a heartfelt prayer of thanks to God for food in a country where every day over 15 million American children go hungry, according to the National Center for Children and Poverty.

Gratitude, Not Attitude: Cultivating The Art Of Appreciating Our Blessings  was originally published on

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