Growing Grateful Kids

I’ve been doing a parenting book Book Club with a few moms. We just get together once a month and talk about our books… but much of our discussion is around our kids and families and things going on. It’s lovely. We have read several books at this point and my favorite so far is “Growing Grateful Kids” by Susie Larson.

This book is short, it’s simple, it’s practical and it’s joyful. And I’ve loved it. There are times in any topic, but I think often in parenting, we seek to make the advice very complicated (formulas for discipline, rules and absolutes and don’t say this or do this or always do this or that). Or we do too much of ‘well, what worked for me was….’ without taking into consider how DIFFERENT kids can be. I enjoyed Susie’s examples of her kids’ differing personalities and how certain tactics worked for one and not the other as I have several varying personalities in my household- and a child that reminds me of her little rebel, Luke.
I also absolutely love a book that is practical, especially about parenting. The idea of the book is how to teach your kids to have genuine gratitude. But, like she says “you cannot impart what you do not possess.” At the end of each chapter, Susie lists several ways we can learn to be more grateful and several ways we can help our children learn it to.
Here are a few examples of her ideas (paraphrased) to help you teach your children gratitude:
“Make thankfulness statements in their presence every day”
“Have fun with them”
“Teach them about injustices and share ways they can help others”
“Talk through their anxieties and fears and share God’s faithfulness with them”
“Teach them responsibility”
“Point out their blessings in gratitude”
“Cultivate an appreciation for humility”
“Every day show your child the countless ways you’re truly rich”
“Model forgiveness and ask your child forgiveness when you’re wrong”
“Teach them their hearts are more valuable than their appearances”
“Use your regrets in parenting as conviction not condemnation”

Okay, really, I could keep going but I’ll stop.  So many nice little nuggets in there.

I’m going to share two main quotes with you from this book that I’m keeping close to me for a time, to learn from:

“The sin of comparison triggers two kinds of responses from us: pride and/or desire- both of which lead us away from our rightful posture of holy confidence and humble dependence. If we compare ourselves to someone who struggles with an issue that happens to be a strength area for us, we will be tempted toward pride (and we’ll wonder why they can’t just get it together).
And if we compare ourselves to someone who is strong and gifted in an area where we are messy and weak, we’ll be tempted toward despair (and we’ll wonder what is wrong with us! Why can’t we just get it together?)
Whenever we look to the right or to the left and compare ourselves with others, we’ll perceive things through a skewed lens. That’s why Jesus wants us to spend most of our time looking up.” Page 123

I see this as a truth. Christians and non-Christians alike compare themselves to others, women who are mothers and those who are not, and moms on every side of every mommy war do it as well. And it brings about either pride or insecurity in us all. We’re always better than or less than whomever else we’re looking to.  Focus on you, your children, your spouse, your heart, your life…there is more in it than you can ever learn or understand. There is enough for you to be doing without comparing yourself to others.

“We are going to blow it from time to time. We are going to say things we don’t mean or wish we didn’t feel. But our words are powerful. They go out from our mouths and into our children’s souls. And if not dealt with, those negative words will embed themselves into our children’s memories and become a part of their belief system. Our kids are like blank canvases. We paint a picture of who they are with the words we speak to them.” Page 196

This reminds me so much of a picture I posted some time ago about how the way we speak to our kids become their inner voice.  I think most mothers ultimately want their children to be happy, to be emotionally healthy and have a good life. I think many people forget just what an impact they have in the day to day life on that future life and emotional health.  Don’t let life just pass by. Be an intentional parent, an intentional person who recognizes that how you act toward your kids and the things you say to them are helping build who they are and who they WILL be.  Don’t let life go by without making this a priority to you.

Well if you made it through this one, thanks for reading my little book report.

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