God has been connecting the dots in my head today.
The dots began with my Bible study this morning. I'm working my way through the study Becoming a Woman of Prayer by Cynthia Heald. The question that really struck me this morning was about several verses that said we need to pray with thanksgiving (one of them being Philipians 4:6-7). The question was--why do we need to pray with a thankful heart? I immediately thought about what a wise question it was. I think we need to pray with a thankful heart because it helps us see God not with the eyes of a taker (I deserve/need such and such), but as a giver (one who does not expect or demand of others). When we come with a thankful heart, we have no sense of entitlement. Rather, we have a sense of how much we do not deserve and have been blessed with.
Next, I read the forward and first chapter of Growing Grateful Kids. Gary Chapman wrote the forward and he wrote something that blew me away! I'm going to paraphrase a little, but basically, he noted that when kids are simply given whatever they want and grow up without boundaries, they eventually become adults who are "takers" rather than "givers" and they will never be able to have healthy adult relationships. As takers, their friends and spouses will never be able to give them enough to satisfy them. Givers enjoy loving others and do not demand or feel entitled. They are able to be satisfied in their relationships because they recognize that the relationship is not all about them.
In the first chapter of her book, Susie Larson talks about how we cannot give our children something we do not ourselves possess. In desiring our children to grow grateful hearts, we must first have grateful hearts ourselves. We need to model for our children what it looks like to have a grateful heart and what that means.
I do desire my children to have grateful hearts and I've always articulated it to myself as struggling with the entitlement mentality. The way Gary Chapman articulated it hit me hard. When he identified what being a taker means in relationships, it made complete sense to me. That is one of the consequences of having an entitlement mentality.
I am looking forward to reading more of Growing Grateful Kids tomorrow =)