“He did all this so you would never say to yourself, ‘I have achieved this wealth with my own strength and energy.’ Remember the Lord your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant he confirmed to your ancestors with an oath.”
Deuteronomy 8:17-18 New Living Translation (NLT)
It seems to me that gratitude is the perfect antidote for boasting. An attitude of thankfulness can curb a bragging spirit. It will change a person’s perspective of why you have what you have. I love how my husband, Nate is quick to point out all that God has made. He sees God in nature and is constantly showing our children how creative God is and how He put different plants and animals in different environments where they could thrive. It is easy for him to see and explain that nature is a gift from God – a blessing that we did not earn or deserve, but that we get to enjoy and have a responsibility to take care of. It is easy for him to give God the glory in nature, which helps our kids think about how awesome God is and consider the many blessings that we have been given.
But the lesson can extend far beyond the natural world. It is so important to teach your kids that everything you have is God’s, and our job is simply to take good care of what He has entrusted to us. An important statement you can teach your children is “We are blessed.” This is so much better than “Look what we have!” We are stewards and caretakers, not owners.
We just recently moved into a bigger and nicer house. The move was an awesome opportunity for us to share with our kids about trusting God to provide for us. We talked about how blessed we were that Daddy had a job that allowed us to live in our previous home and save money. Throughout the years we have taught our kids the concept of saving your money and spending it wisely. So as we started to look for a home we shared with our kids the importance of seeking God’s will. We would read Proverbs 2:1-15 before any decision that needed to be made. We pointed out to the kids that God is all-knowing so we should seek His advice before we make any decisions. Then as we found our house we were able to point out how awesome it was that God found us the perfect house. He cared so much about us that He even took care of the little things that we wanted. There was room for a large garden, we had a creek in our back yard, it was fourth of a mile from a beautiful bike trail, close to ALDI, :^) and so much more. Our children learned that we found this house and got it because of God, not because of our own insight and action.
The last concept that I want to mention today is the importance of teaching your children that they are who they are because God made them that way. God has a perfect plan for each one of your kids and He made each of them different on purpose. This is a way to help them build a strong sense of self-worth, on the firmest of foundations! Their gifts and abilities were given to them by God, not because of anything that they did. Now, they can decide how they are going to use those gifts, and they can put in the work to make them better, but at their core they are who they are because of God. Teaching them this concept will help them put a proper perspective on things. We try to focus our praise more on their efforts than their achievements. Instead of saying “Wow you did awesome in that game!” we try to say, “Wow I really liked how you hustled and worked hard to get the ball! That really helped your team.” Instead of always saying, “Good job on the math, you’re smart!” we try to say “Good job on the math – all that hard work is paying off!” We have one child who is great at English and reading and another whose strong subject is math. We have had many conversations about how neat it is that God created them differently. We discuss that it doesn’t make one better than the other, but just means that God was creative. Hannah once gave us the analogy that if everyone always wore blue shirts to school every day it would be so boring. She liked that her school allowed them to wear all different colors of polo shirts because it made life more interesting. We should be excited when others are different and better than us. Together we can make an awesome team!
Don’t take this too far the other direction, of course. You should praise your kids and tell them they are smart. It is good for our kids to know what they are good at and be confident in their abilities; we just have to make sure that they know why they are good at it. And the same is true of us moms, too!
This week’s assignment:
1.) Make a list of the qualities that God has instilled in each of your kids. When an opportunity presents itself, tell your kids how much God loves them and created them exactly how He wanted them, for a purpose.
2.) Think about how you praise your kids. Are you puffing them up or giving God the glory? Think about ways to praise their character and efforts versus their accomplishments.
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