I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser who supports companies that give back with community involvement and food donation #SummerofGiving #CollectiveBias
My kids are SO blessed. We’re talking over-abundantly-socks-off-blessed. Thanks to loving, generous grandparents and many other family members, and a Mommy and Daddy who love them dearly, and a Mommy who happens to be a blogger, they have always had an over-abundance of everything. For example–check out this picture from last Christmas. Yeah…..all that pile? That was just and only THEIR presents!!!! And this year me and Grandma both had vowed to “cut back” Oy!!!!
I’m so grateful that we are able to provide our kids with SO MUCH! *So* thankful. It’s so much fun to get random, huge toys from Grandma as garage sale surprises “just because”, or when a box shows up “for no reason” on our doorstep filled with $200 worth of brand new toys and books that mommy is reviewing. The fact that we can do this without going into debt while hubby is in school full time and I’m working from home? Amazing!! ((wondering how that’s possible? Check out my Work From Home–For Real and Pinching Pennies pinboards!))
But honestly–too many blessings can cause problems. BIG problems. All of a sudden my sweet, well mannered, thankful children started copping these huge entitled attitudes. Asking for things in the store, pouting when I said no, and *expecting* a “surprise” every few days. Uhh…no, not how surprises work kiddos!!!
Someone Else is Happy with Less Than You Have
So this year I decided that this whole blessing/parenting/bad attitude thing needed a huge makeover. I still want to continue to bless my kiddos socks off, but they desperately needed to learn just how lucky they are, to see how others are not, and to realize that a lot of hard work goes into getting these blessings.
So here are my thoughts, ideas, and tips that we’ve been using! The transformation has been wonderful!
Empower, Enlighten, and Enrich Your Children’s Lives by Squashing the Entitlement Monster
*Ask them–then teach them. At dinner the other night my husband and I asked our children “Did you guys know that there are kids who don’t have enough to eat tonight? Do you know that in our town there are kids who don’t have a house to live in?”
They were both so surprised. They had no idea. And with our 6 year old it lead into an enlightening conversation about where these people do live, why they might be there, and what we can do to help.
*Make it FUN! You really don’t need to set them down in the front room, all sullen and solemn and start discussing the plights of humanity. We decided to ease into it by taking our normal Sunday family dinner and making it kid style with Tyson Chicken Nuggets and Sweet Potato Fries. This was the perfect launch point for our conversation.
The reason it was a perfect launch pad is because ending hunger is a very important issue to Tyson Foods. So much so that they created the Tyson Family Foundation initiative called KNOW Hunger. KNOW Hunger is an initiative designed to encourage people to become aware of the scope of hunger issues right in their own towns and to encourage them to get involved in hunger relief!
One very cool thing is that in addition to this amazing cause, right now when you buy specially marked Tyson products for every bag of product purchased one meal will be provided to a child in need by Tyson!
You probably remember how much we love Tyson Day Starts! We were excited to find out that they, along with many of Tyson’s other amazing products, are included in this program!
*Get Involved — and Include Your Children! Having a fun and lighthearted dinner style conversation is a great start, but that is only where we need it to begin for a real and lasting impact on our children’s lives.
What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
I decided that while I was amazing to be able to tell our kids about the needs in our community, and how there are amazing Companies that give back to help End Hunger, I wanted to take it one step further.
Not too long ago I started volunteering, and am in the process of being trained to become a Mentor Mom, at this great place called Building Blocks. Here is a little about them from their website:
The Building Blocks program offers real and practical help to parents, help that encourages and renews their hope for the future. It’s a unique earn-while-you-learn program where moms and dads earn points for going to doctor appointments, attending parenting classes, and meeting with one of our parenting mentors. These points can be used to obtain baby items- such as: diapers, clothes, furniture, and more through our “store.” Thus through practical assistance, emotional support, and spiritual encouragement, this outreach prepares young people for life’s biggest challenge – becoming a parent.
I know that for many of these moms summer time is a more difficult time for family finances since they have their older children at home as well–and when you’re pregnant or have a newborn mealtime can get tricky–especially if you’re a single parent! I thought it would be such a blessing to these girls and their littles if I would buy double of everything on our trip–and donate half of it to Building Blocks! Although we don’t usually give out food, I knew that the ladies in charge there will know just which families would be blessed by food that their kids will love or even just not having to worry about cooking an elaborate meal for dinner on a night they’re feeling especially overwhelmed!
I had the kids help me pick out what to buy while we were shopping at Walmart, and we talked about how we go to Building Blocks each week so Mommy can help other Mommies. It is a great reminder as we physically travel to a location each week and bring things. I’m also considering picking up another round of food for the Homeless Ministry that is active in Tyler, TX; and having the kids go with me to drop it off as well!
*Make them work — but then reward them! When the summer started I knew that I wanted to get the kids working on some type of chores/rewards/punishment type of program. Of course Pinterest is FULL of ideas–but I also polled my mommy friends to find out what they really used and what worked/didn’t work. From all these I came up with my Work, Save, Spend, Give Pinboard — which made me remember I had saved this amazing little gem a few years ago —> Summertime Parenting With Tickets. I absolutely loved that it took care of chores, rewards, and punishments and rolled them all into one neat and tidy system that the kids could get excited about! I spent a few hours and tweaked it for my kids and we’ve been using it all summer. Has it worked?
Yes!!! The kids have loved it, my house hasn’t been this clean in ages, and I’ve been completely shocked at just how much they are each capable of doing at the tender ages of (almost) 4 & 6. I no longer feel “Mom Guilt” over Amber doing big jobs–because she’s getting big rewards for them! And waking up to having both kids dressed, with their hair tidy, their dirty clothes picked up, the bed made, and they’ve already eaten breakfast? Can we say a Mommy’s Dream Come true?!
It’s also teaching the kids valuable lessons like the choice between saving up for BIG fun, or spending it on little fun right away. They are learning about numbers (Amber can now count by 5s thanks to this) and so many, many other amazing things. I could go on and on about this–but we’ll just say–it works for us and I will be continuing it long after summer has ended!
What are your best ways to empower, enlighten, and enrich your children’s lives? How do you handle squashing entitlement? I’d love to hear all your tips in a comment! I’m always looking for more ideas!