Simply Thankful

Being a parent is tough work. When they’re small, it’s physically tedious and exhausting . As they reach teen years the emotional wear and tear begin to take over. Let’s face it, parenting is not for the weak or faint of heart. One must be prayed up, rested up and willing to be real in front of your kids.

It’s not enough to just tell them what to do or how to behave. Everyday, you and I must model what Christ expects of us as His followers. It’s the only way (the true way) that our kids will know right from wrong. Believe me, if you don’t think your kids are watching….just sit back and observe how they handle everyday situations in their life. They react based on what they know.

Last year, I seemed to be butting heads with a certain teenager in my house. She was modeling an “all about me” attitude just about everyday. The issues were draining me of my joy, my emotions and my mental strength. I pleaded with her to snap out of it! Nothing seemed to be working. I even resorted to punishment for every single offense. Exhausting! It still continued.

The stress of the behavior was beginning to take its toll on the whole family. Isn’t it funny how one unhappy person can wreck everyone’s good time? Or is that just in my family? 🙂 I whined to my husband, I argued with her and then…..I gave up. Not on her, just the battle between us. I wasn’t getting anywhere with my other methods. Until it hit me. Make her focus on what it is she is thankful for.

I recognized the behavior she was modeling too well. I tend to be a bit dramatic about every little detail of my own life every now and then. What usually brings me back to a right perspective is a thankful list. I knew it worked for me…..but would it even crack open a peek into this child’s heart? So, I delivered the order.

I wish I could say that list made the problems stop immediately but it didn’t. It was simply a starting point. She began to recognize that fretting over every little thing is useless and joy robbing. Complaining about this and that started to look depressing (wonder why, huh?). Looking intentionally for the blessings in life was humbling. It wasn’t long before the rotten behavior was replaced with gratitude. Hers and mine.

Like so many other instances in parenting….this lesson wasn’t just for her. It was for me as well. When I get bummed about “stuff” in life and just want to whine about it…..I have this little reminder to claim what I’m grateful for and focus on that. Life isn’t all about me or you. It’s about living for Him and letting His goodness ooze out. If I’m oozing anger or complaints, I’m not oozing Jesus.

So, I’m focusing on simply being thankful!

Try it. Make your own Thankful List today. Write down everything that comes to mind. You’ll be surprised how your attitude changes. It’s better than any pep talk or bowl of icecream….I promise!

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Psalm 107:1

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