Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world (Philippians 2:14-15).
We have spent the last two days complaining…well, at least we have spent the last two days considering complaining. Monday’s article considered God’s view of complaining, and Tuesday’s article looked into the marriage relationship and how we need to work on producing a different climate in the home.
Here are a few thoughts today about helping our children to be thankful and to correct complaining behavior.
- Model the behavior you want to see. Let’s work on being examples of thankful people.
- Put them to work. Be age appropriate, but get them working. They are not living as royalty in a palace with mom and dad as their slaves. One quick way to squash the entitlement mentality is to make kids pull weeds, clean toilets and vacuum the van. Again, be age appropriate, you are not going to make a 3 year old chop wood and clean the toilet, but hopefully you get what I’m saying.
- Take away privileges and possessions for a time. I know this is simple, but if you can’t be thankful for what you have, you can live without it for awhile.
- Allow them to experience or internalize what real suffering looks like. For example, take them to visit someone who is really suffering. Have them do volunteer/service work for others in some type of need. I know for me, when I went as a young man to Riley Children’s Hospital in Indy, it had a profound effect upon me. When you see a young boy, a cancer patient, with no hair walking around with an IV cart, it really makes you feel really stupid for complaining about some trivial thing. I remember being in the burn unit with my cousin in Riley hospital. There were two young boys, ages 2 and 4, whose mother set their mattress on fire in an attempt to murder them. I have no problems. Going to a Holocaust exhibit is another experience that will sober you up. Again, be age appropriate on this one, but they need to somehow be lifted out of their own world and see the lives of others.
Hope this helps.