I periodically see “#firstworldproblem” floating around social media. Typically the author is stating some problem that would seem ridiculously unimportant and trivial in a third-world country. For example, one person wrote in frustration that they forgot to charge their Apple Watch, while another lamented the fact that they were out of creamer but had already poured a cup of coffee.
I don’t wear a watch or drink coffee, but I can imagine that those people were actually annoyed by the inconvenience of their situation. These posts were certainly intended to be humorous and admittedly made me chuckle a bit. However, they also made me think about the mindset that I want to instill in Mark. How do you teach a child to be thankful when our society has taken on an attitude of entitlement and whining when things don’t turn out exactly the way you want?
It is a tough question that I have thought about frequently when contemplating how to raise faithful children. There are so many theories and strategies that it is hard to know exactly what will be successful in the long run.
I’m a teacher by trade and taught English for several years, so I naturally tend to gravitate toward books. Mark and I read each morning after breakfast. He sits in his highchair (the only place he is somewhat still) sipping on milk while I read to him from the stack of books that I keep in the kitchen. Perhaps out of laziness or absentmindedness, we often read the same ones each morning. Recently, I’ve noticed that he is picking up on words and phrases from these books.
Children remember what they see and hear frequently. This is why my current favorite children’s book is “Thank you, God” by PK Hallinan. This book reads like a simple prayer. Mark and I read it every-single-morning after our Hail Mary and Our Father children’s prayer books.
I am convinced that this book is the reason Mark knows the phrase, “Thank you.” Since I am not a fan of wordy books for toddlers, I love that each page contains only a sentence or two. The rhyming words make it catchy, and the pictures are colorful.
Throughout the book, numerous things are listed for which we should be thankful. It includes everything from animals, flowers, and beaches, to family, angels, and the cross. Since Mark is only one, he likes to repeat words that he knows, and he likes to identify items in the pictures. However, several pages lend themselves naturally to great conversation with kids a year or two older.
“Thank you, God” by PK Hallinan would make a great addition to a bedtime routine or family prayer time. The author also has many other books that encourage good character and values in children. Although I haven’t read any of the others yet, several are on my list of books to buy for Mark. I will keep you posted. :)
Emphasizing the importance of being thankful from a young age is important when combatting the sense of entitlement that seems to plague the youth of our society. I pray that in these crucial, early, formative years, I can instill in my son the importance of a thankful heart so that he will grow up to be a man who appreciates his many blessings.
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