Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Planting the seed of Gratefulness

I am not a gardener. I do not enjoy yard work. I wish I did because my husband loves it and we could spend a whole lot more time together if I did. His uncle owns a nursery and he used to work on it during the summer growing up. Therefore he knows lots and lots about all kinds of plants. The only thing I have ever planted is some knock-out roses because my friend that owns a nursery told me there was nothing I could do to kill them. (Steve even took pictures of me planting them because he realized it might never happen again). She was right. They were beautiful around our mailbox. Then we moved. So I don't even get to enjoy them anymore!

All of this to say that perhaps my lack of a green thumb parallels why I sometimes feel like a failure when it comes to planting the seed of gratefulness into my five-year-old. I have been astonished lately at some of the comments she has made.

"I don't want to take Daddy's truck."

"I don't want oatmeal for breakfast" (after it is sitting at her place at the table)

" So-in-so has one of these. You never buy me anything." (So untrue)

Just to name a few. But the one that sent me over the edge (and inspired this post) was when we were in Michael's yesterday. We went in looking for a picture frame and I didn't find what I was looking for. So as we're leaving the store empty handed, she sees a mom with her two boys. The mom was letting the boys pick out various items and put them in her cart. My child says to me, "that mommy is letting them buy all sorts of stuff. I wish you were like her."

Heart... broken. I was so shocked that she would say such a thing. I reacted with silence. She knew instantly that she had hurt me. And because I wasn't responding, she told me that I hurt her feelings! What???????????????? After a quiet ride home, I tried to explain to her that we don't just buy something just because we're in a store. I told her that maybe those boys were picking out a gift for a birthday present or a special event or a number of things.

About 30 minutes later, she came to me in the kitchen, hugged me, and said "You're the greatest mommy ever." And I think she meant it. Heart..healed.

We say we try not to spoil our children, but we are so blessed that they are often spoiled unintentionally. I am not the mom that says "if you're really good on this Walmart trip, you can pick out a toy." I am not the mom who lets her pick out something from the (as Steve calls it "impulse buy") section when you are checking out at the grocery store. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying those things are wrong, it's just not the choice I tend to make. And don't get me wrong again. She gets plenty of "stuff" between birthdays, Christmas, GRANDPARENTS, and special events (like learning to swim this summer).

Two years ago we began sponsoring a child in Indonesia through Compassion International . Her name is Vivi and she is Anna Clare's age. They draw and color for each other and send pictures back and forth as we correspond with Vivi's mom. It has been such a blessing for our family, and I often remind AC, "I bet Vivi would appreciate this so much!"

I am trying my best (and in today's society it is so difficult) to instill the importance of morals, values, character, work ethic, and especially, the Fruit of the Spirit into her. I know she is only 5 and maybe my expectations are too high. But soon she will be 13 and then 21 and then one day (God willing) married and raising children of her own. And she really is a sweet child and has such a tender heart. It just breaks mine to see sin begin at such a precious age. My best hope is for our family to stay grounded in God's Word and to pray for His constant wisdom and guidance. And I have faith that if we do, we can plant and cultivate that seed after all.


Christy said...

I think you have done a great job with Anna Clare. I think it is wonderful that you aren't instilling a sense of materialism in her. Also, teaching her about the less fortunate will help her learn to appreciate her own circumstances and realize how blessed she is. Often, I think the fruits of your hard work as a parent don't reveal themselves until the child has passed adolescence and is mature enough to appreciate your parenting style as they grow older. Dont' be discouraged. I greatly admire the wonderful job that you and Steve do with the girls.

Denise said...

Wow, this is a really great post. It made me nervous to think about how I will react when Mary Selwyn reaches this stage. I hope I will be like you. I really learned just from reading this. Thanks...
P.S. I'm not a yard work girl either.

andi McClurkin said...

I love the post! I think it is all too true of myself. It is so hard to parent and often it is trial and error. You are doing a great job. I think it's great that you don't want to just "give her things." I am impressed that you said it was a quiet ride home. I would have let the boys hear about it, but you were able to have a good conversation with her and then see a soft heart! Man, it really makes me evaluate myself! :) Great post

andi said...

I loved the comments on my blog. :)
Apparently I had to confirm my email address to get logged on today. Got it figured out though.

Lindsey said...

Well, as you know I don't have children, but I do know how they can be. And sometimes they don't realize what they are saying. And I think it's great that you don't buy her everything she wants. That will pay one day!

Heather H said...

we parent very similiar .. and dealing with 2 "A.C" girls - it is really tough.

i think she gets it at this early age. she gets that you are the best mommy ever b/c you love her. not because of the gifts you do /don't give her.

proud of you.