grateful, not greedy


My son is three years old. It's a wonderful, magical, and painful time. Everyday he's learning so much and impressing me with his knowledge. He's hilarious and smart and sweet...and also stubborn, defiant, and willful. Everyday is an exercise in patience, sometimes I fail and sometimes I don't. What can I say? I am also a work in progress.

One thing that we have been struggling with lately is the issue of gratitude. You see, Liam loves toys. I get it. I have my own "toys" that I love (iPhones and clothes and books, oh my!). He has this thing with YouTube Kids and loves watching all the various toy reviews. He plans out which toy he wants to get next and is constantly adding to his wish list. 

The other day he really wanted a dinosaur. Mind you, this kid has a bunch of dinosaurs already. But he didn't want those, he wanted the specific dinosaur that he had seen on YouTube Kids. I tried to reason with him to no avail. You try reasoning with the three year-old, it's not easy. Alex and I were getting so frustrated that it prompted Alex to get out a garbage bag to throw all of Liam's toys away. (We didn't end up throwing them away.)

Later, at a less emotionally charged moment (which I'm learning is the key with kids), I had a talk with Liam about gratitude. I told him that he needed to be grateful for what he had instead of being greedy. I explained to him the difference and what the Bible says about greediness. I explained to him that there are other boys and girls who don't have any toys at all. We talked about all we have and how thankful we should be. I think he got it, but kids are kids and, well, he still brings up the dinosaur every now and then.

It's hard raising kids. You walk this line between wanting to give them the world and holding back so you don't spoil them. I want to say yes, but I know I need to say no sometimes. Heck, sometimes I have to say no because there just isn't enough money for all the dinosaurs in the world. 

And I also know that this is something I have to learn myself. I am always wanting more. More cute clothes, more dinners out at fancy restaurants, more gadgets. Admittedly I often feel sorry for myself because we're just not as financially well-off as I wish we were. I dream of a fancier car, a bigger closet, a newer phone...but I have so much. Instead of being greedy and wanting more I need to practice gratitude and contentment. It's okay not to have the latest and greatest. I have my family, my home, my God. What else is there? 

"Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever." -Psalm 118