A whole lot of:
- Why are we doing that?
- My after school party starts in an hour, who’s taking me?
- I have 7 classes every day, my life is SO hard!
I’m reading a parenting book about the entitlement factor among children (and all Americans really). How they (we?) need a shot in the arm, a vaccination, of good old fashioned humility and appreciation. “I deserve this.” “I should get more.”
The antidote the book suggests?
Last weekend SuperTween needed a few pairs of casual pants. She’s literally growing before our eyes, several pairs of her jeans are ready for the Ark.
We drove to Kohl’s and chose a pair of khaki pants, but couldn’t find jeans for tall-for-her-age super skinny 12yrold, Size: ZERO. And next…( apparently I failed at communication the next few minutes...) because everyone else understood that our next stop on the Tween shopping express was Target; to buy her one more pair.
I Kid You Not.
Out of her mouth:
I basically pulled out the wicked witch of the west mom mask, and well, LOST it. Are you serious? We drove over the mountain to shop specifically for you. And you’ve hit your Saturday patience level after one store?
Needless to say the rest of the day went to crap.
That weekend I talked with my husband about how to cure this entitlement virus and prevent it from infecting her any further. And just how contagious is it? Will it spread to the younger siblings?
I kept reading my parenting book, hoping for some insight. And I swear every talk and lesson in church that Sunday mentioned blessings and the benefits of expressing gratitude.
Monday night instead of Family Home Evening, I asked everyone to play a few rounds of a new game we just received called: Count Your Blessings. It’s a game created out of the inspired brainpower of the @Gratitweets women: Laura Robinson and Elizabeth Bryan along with the Chicken Soup for the Soul book of the same name.
Yes. SuperTween complained and slouch-pouted in the corner chair. However. After less than one round of:
Flick the spinner.
Read a situation card from one of the five decks (they present a dilemma, or predicament).
Problem solve as a family.
She couldn’t help herself. She was drawn in, participating and answering alongside the family immediately.
Examples and family responses:
Category: Look On The Bright Side
“Share something difficult that’s happened to you that relates to life. And then share how you looked on the bright side.”
Sassy 9yrold: I broke my leg when I was four… people felt bad so they gave me presents.
TK 5yrold: I broke my arm last summer… everyone thought I was so cool on the first day of Kindergarten!
Dad: When I was 15, I was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes… I eat better now, watch my sweets and value my life more.
SuperTween: In the spelling bee in 5th grade I won the whole grade, but later after a dad bullied the teacher the kid who got out just before me got a ‘second chance’… he ended up winning the next round and later they called it a ‘Tie’… I learned that sometimes it’s more important to know you worked hard and did well no matter what the public story is.
Category: Count Your Blessings
“Give the group 2 reasons you are grateful for the player with the largest feet."
TK: I love his hugs and kisses (about Dad of course!)
Sassy: He’s cool. He takes care of me.
SuperTween: Sometimes he drives me to school. He works and pays the bills.
Mom: Because he loves me. And he makes me laugh when he teaches the children the Fishheads song!
Category: Soul Food
“You yelled at a friend or family member because you were frustrated about something else."
Everyone: Oh my gosh we ALL do that!
And we laughed and talked about how hard it is when you are upset or frustrated at something, but then transfer that frustration to your family.
The conversation that followed after these handful of thought provoking- blessing remembering- questions and prompts was in a word: Priceless.
We talked for half an hour. The parents. The kids. (5yrold migrated off to the Lego pile nearby). We may not have solved world peace but we did manage to get a few antiviral injections aimed at the nasty entitlement virus.
And I’m grateful for that!