Tuesday, January 19, 2016

5 Steps to a Gratitude-Filled Family: #RaisingGratefulKids BlogHop

My family and I have been on quite the 2016 adventure so far - and it's only mid-January! We're working to live lives of gratitude and overcome the sense of entitlement we've all seemed to pick up in the last few years.

Entitlement crept into our lives so easily. We've been financially blessed with the abilty to pretty much afford what we want - trips, big (and small) item purchases, new clothes for the kids, toys for the kids and the list goes on. We knew it was a problem, but when our 6 and 3-year-olds started pitching fits when they didn't get a toy every time we went to Target (because not getting one was the exception), we knew we had to make a change.

At the same time we were looking to make a change, change came looking for us, in the form of this gem of a book:

Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World, by Kristen Welch of We are THAT Family, started our family on a journey toward a more thankful mentality. 

The book is really really good - filled with lots of personal stories about how the author practices what she lays out in the book with her husband and three kids, as well as lots of Biblically-based advice on how we (the global Body of Christ) can start working toward what really matters - spreading the love of Jesus. 

Because the love of Jesus doesn't look like the love of self/stuff/status/success/possessions that we see out in our culture at large. The love of Jesus is self-sacrificing, compassionate, connecting and concerned with the other. 

The book offers so much great stuff (you really should read it) and it inspired us to take the following 5 steps toward gratitude and away from entitlement in 2016:

1. We decided birthdays this year will feature experience-related gifts. Our kids are so used to mountains of gifts at holidays and on birthdays and we've realized they no longer appreciate what they do receive. 
2. We're starting family dinner conversations focused on connecting those of us around the table to what went well each day.
3. We're going to nag our kids less and allow natural consequences for missed homework assignments, missed chores (the kids will be able to use the money they earn to buy toys if they choose), etc. The kids both now have bank accounts, with debit cards that we'll help them manage, and jobs around the house. If they successfully complete the jobs in a way that meets our standards (that are age-appropriately high or low), we'll transfer money to their account every other week. They'll need to save 10%, tithe 10% and the remaining 80% will be available for the kids to purchase what they want or save for the larger items on their wish lists. 
4. We're not going to purchase any non-needed items for the kids. We'll buy clothes they need, but only when they need each item. If they want a special Valentine's Day dress, or a new pair of boots that they don't absolutely need (that we'll cover), then they'll pay for what they want with their own money.
5. We're moving away from the concept of a child-centered home. As I read the book, I realized how much we've let the kids' wants and needs take over our lives. It's easy to do - we want the best for our kiddos! And there's so much more available to parents than ever before - enrichment classes, sports groups, camps, the list goes on. We run ourselves ragged making sure they're happy and primed for success in life. Ultimately, that teaches the kids that they're entitled to constant entertainment and that we revolve around them. Both are ugly traits in adults - and the book has helped us see that raising loving adults who shine for Jesus and lead well requires us to start taking steps in childhood to point them in the right direction - toward gratitude and away from entitlement.

So far, a few weeks into 2016, we're already seeing big results from our little gratitude experiment and I'll do my best to share updates as we move further into our year. 

In the meantime, I highly recommend the book. I'm so thankful to have had the opportunity to serve on the launch team for the book and get to preview a complimentary copy before it's official launch date in exchange for an honest review. I'd love to hear from you if you pick it up!

If you'd like to read more about the book, click on over to Twitter and search for #RaisingGratefulKids. And, if you'd like the PDF copy of the journal that goes with the book (for free!), click here


  1. We are huge fans of experience-based gifts! Love your list - thanks for sharing some great ideas!

  2. All wonderful ideas! I especially love #3! Thanks so much for sharing!