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“Just be thankful!”
I don’t know how many times I’ve said this to my boys as they’re complaining about something. I give them one thing, but they either wanted more of that or something else. Then, I start the whole, “If you only knew what other kids don’t have …” speech. You know – the speech your dad used to give you about starving kids around the world.
Don’t judge me, but sometimes I resort to the old parenting stand-bys I heard growing up. If only my kids would be more grateful for all that they have and not so focused on what they don’t have. I sometimes think they don’t recognize just how blessed they are and how much they have compared to so many others.
As convicting as I would like that to be in those times when they're not being grateful, I’ve actually been convicted of the same thing recently. I so easily get stuck on the little things they aren’t doing or the things that I wish were different in their behavior, and I completely miss or ignore how incredible they really are.
Most of the time, they really are well behaved. Most of the time, they really are kind and sweet. Most of the time, they really do what I ask them to do.
Why, then, do I so often focus on the few things they don’t do, or the few times they’re just a mess? Why do I let the occasional negatives override and overrule all of the amazing and wonderful things that are in front of me?
I don’t know all the reasons why, but sometimes I know it’s because I simply am not as thankful as I should be. I have so much to be thankful for, and I’ve decided that I'm ready to follow my own advice: Just be thankful.
I’m still going to deal with the bumps in the road as my wife, Krista, and I work hard to be good parents and to raise our boys to be godly men. But I’m going to step back a little more often and just soak in how precious and wonderful these two little boys are, even in the midst of the tough times.
What if we all were a little more thankful for our kids … not just for their good behaviors, but just because they are incredible gifts from our generous Father? Give it a try. Let's do it together.
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Great words! Kids are such a blessing, but it is so easy to lose perspective. It is striking to see how much our culture of discontentment (the "I won't be happy unless I have this____" culture) affects both us and our children. You are right though. One of the best things we can do to teach our children to be content is to model it to them, in being thankful for them and for all the other blessings in our lives. ~Joey