Our children are developing quite a tendency to want more, more, more…
I recently took our eldest daughter out to afternoon tea at a local café. Nothing too fancy – a neenish tart and a chocolate milkshake for her, a caramel slice and a cappuccino for me. We played naughts and crosses and talked about her day. At a total cost of $18.50, it wasn’t cheap. But it was very pleasant…
As we were leaving, my daughter said “Next time, I’m getting a lollipop.” I asked her to think about what she had just said, and try again. Her response was: “Next time, may I please get a lollipop?”
This was not the answer I was looking for. I was hoping for a simple “Thanks Mum”. It bothered me that she had already moved on to ‘what’s next?’ before even taking a moment to appreciate the nice chat and delicious afternoon tea we had just had.
“Where does she get this entitlement mentality from?” Hubby and I ask each other on regular basis. “Just be grateful for what you have, for goodness sake…” we find ourselves muttering in despair.
But sometimes watching our children can be like holding a mirror up to ourselves. When my girls play Mums and cuddle each other and call each other “sweetie”, I allow myself a little smirk of self-congratulation. Nice Mumming – well done me! Yet when they seem unsatisfied with what they have and always want more, I don’t understand it and throw my hands up in despair.
I don’t overtly come out and say it like our kids do, but it is true that a little layer of minor discontent sits beneath my surface. I’ll be happy when we live in our own home. I’ll be happy once we renovate our house. I’d be happy if I wasn’t working and could spend more time with the kids. I’ll be happy when I’m working again and can feel clever and appreciated. I’ll be happy when the kids are toilet trained. I’ll be happy when…
No wonder my children are ungrateful.
When it comes to achieving sustained happiness, gratitude is supposedly quite key. Clearly, something must be done…
I toyed with the idea of putting up a Gratitude Board in our kitchen. No-one gets to eat dinner until they think of something they are grateful for. Kind of like saying grace, but for heathens… (Also, more likely to achieve success than tonight’s failed attempt at “No dinner until you clean your bedroom”.)
But then I decided that if I can just become more grateful myself, then like everything else it will no doubt catch on.
So from tomorrow, I plan to think of 3 things I am grateful for each night and write them in a journal. Today, I will think of 10. I have been particularly grumpy this week so it can’t hurt…
10 things I am grateful for right now:
- My three beautiful children who are alive and healthy and happy
- Living in a country where I can take my 3 year old daughter to the doctor for free, and then pick up my 6 year old daughter from school (also incidentally free) where she is being educated, as is her right
- The fact that the most serious argument my husband and I ever have is over who is the least exhausted and therefore has to get up with the kids on Sunday morning
- Sunsets like this one, viewed from our back porch
- Good coffee
- My Mum who lives 7 minutes away and is an excellent Nanna (and Mum)
- The fact that not a day goes by in which my husband fails to make me laugh at least once
- That the gecko which found its way into our car on Tuesday afternoon did not decide to run up my arm as I drove my daughter and her friends to gymnastics
- My amazing biceps
- Warm Nutella poured over chocolate chip ice cream (speaking of which, gotta go…)