Parenting Children
Hi, there!

As you read the first email and watched the video about selfishness, you may have found yourself saying, “YUP, my child can definitely be selfish!” Here’s the reality - WE ALL ARE! Each of us looks for ways to get what we want out of life. We say it’s not about us, but, in reality, most of us live like it is!

Thousands of years ago the Israelites did this same thing after being freed from slavery. They found themselves in the desert asking for more: more food, more water, more leadership.

Here’s the problem the Israelites found themselves in, and one we need to take heed of when it comes to parenting: The Israelites did NOT keep the end in mind! God was delivering them to the promised land, but all they could focus on was not having what they wanted in the present.

Sound familiar? Ever try taking a kid past the toy or candy section of a store? Or, worse, had to take them to buy a gift for someone else? You're pretty much guaranteed they'll ask for something they see.  

Trying to talk them out of it can lead to a war of the wills or a full blown tantrum. Saying not giving it to them will do them good in the end has never gone over well! Our kids can’t focus on the end because developmentally they can’t think that far ahead. But WE can. As parents, we can keep the end in mind and make choices accordingly!
Do we want our children to grow up to be selfless or selfish, generous or greedy? When we parent with the end in mind it helps us make better decisions in the moment.

Here's a practical tool that helped me in the middle of the toy section.
When my kid pointed something out to me, instead of immediately saying "No!", or "We're not getting that!", I said, "Cool!" and went over to the thing, picked it up, brought it back to my kid and we really looked at it together. We ooo-ed and ahhh-ed over it together. We talked about it a bit, sometimes comparing it to something they already had or that we'd seen on TV. Then, I thanked them for pointing it out to me as I put it back on the shelf, and redirected them to the task at hand. Sometimes, I've pointed something else out and we ooo-ed and ahhh-ed over that, too, again, putting it back on the shelf when we were done. 

The first time I tried this I was amazed at the change in my kid. Suddenly, they stopped asking for things and instead just started pointing things out! The shopping experience became about sharing what we were seeing together - about enjoying looking at things together, without feeling the pressure to buy or have. Giving them a hug and kiss before leaving the toy section didn't hurt, either!

Not only did this help my kids in this regard, but it helped me begin to break the cycle of my never being satisfied.

Ultimately, we want for our kids what God wants for each of us - for them, and us, to be completely satisfied in Jesus. "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." Hebrews 13:5

With blessings,