Learning to Live with Gratitude

I had a “Come to Jesus” moment with my eldest daughter today.

I had just picked her up from a surprise playdate at her best friend’s house and was immediately met with discontent and complaint after complaint.  In less than five minutes, she had racked up six grievances.

I hit my limit.

This “ungrateful heart” is nothing new with our privileged child.  The majority of the time, she is sweet, imaginative and fun. She plays outside more than in, reads more books than she watches a screen, and is a stranger to none.  She has always been the teacher’s favorite- kind and a rule-follower.

But when she gets home, she lets herself go.

Upon entering the house, I listed the six things she had managed to complain about in the 90 second ride from our neighbor’s house in one column, and sat down to have her list what she could have and excuse me, should have said instead.

I drew a picture of a half-full glass of lemonade and discussed its meaning in detail.

It’s difficult for a child that has so much to understand what it means to be disappointed. But it does not excuse her from living with an ungrateful heart.

I vow to do more community service with her.  If she is always fed, at least she can help serve meals to those who are not.  If she is always under a warm roof, at least she can hand a blanket to someone who isn’t.

In the meantime, as long as she is under this roof, she will recognize her actions and strive to do better.  To say thank you often– to the cashier, the mailman, the janitor, the nurse, the teacher, her friends and her family.  To be aware that although yes, the glass is half-empty, to focus on the half that is full.  To live with a grateful heart.

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