Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Teaching Appreciation

I sure wish parenting were easy (how many times have I said that?), or that there were a manual or Google search with all the answers. But it isn’t always easy, in fact very rarely so, and there’s no such place to find the magic solution. So much of it is luck and experience. And… it helps to have good kids.

And I do have good kids. Bright, responsible, fun-loving, happy, healthy, considerate… need I go on? But there is one area with room for improvement that bothers me, and it’s not just my kids, but a lot of today’s youth suffer from this one lack of refinement.


Don’t get me wrong. My kids really like gifts and privileges, and will occasionally almost squeal with delight as a recipient. But truthfully, many of today’s youth feel a sense of entitlement, and while they like their “stuff,” they don’t necessarily appreciate it. There “stuff” comes to them too easily.

Maybe it’s the times. After all, each generation works hard to improve their standard of living and increase their buying power. Consumerism is pushed through marketing and advertising, much geared towards our youth, arousing our kids “wants” of the latest game or gadget. And as parents, we often feel guilty if we don’t succumb and give our kids what their peers already own. We want our kids to have the latest style clothing, shoes, telephones, i-pods, etc. But that’s just foolish. And it isn’t doing anyone any favors.

So how do you teach appreciation?

Kids ask for things all the time, material items or not, but things that come too easily aren’t valued. I struggle with saying “no” and have written about that before, but saying no can actually be good for our kids, as it makes them appreciate those “yeses” much more.

But it’s more than even saying no. It’s about giving our kids accountability as they grow and develop, and to provide the goodies and gadgets as reward, for their work and for taking the initiative to help out. This gives our kids a clearer perspective of the proper worth of the item or action.

Proverbs 13:24 says “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.” Discipline is not only punishment for correction, but also includes activities that advance or improve skills; training. Saying no sometimes and giving our kids responsibilities is showing love, and it teaches appreciation.

It’s wonderful to give our kids gifts and pleasures, and even more so to see their faces light up in sincere appreciation and thanksgiving.


Sheryl Tuttle said...

(As if I know). Re-reading this post it sure appears as if I know what I'm talking about, but this is an area where I seriously struggle. I find it hard to say no to the kids.

To the parent who disciplines and is able to say no, who says "this hurts me more than it hurts you" because it's true, saying no often is harder on the parent than the child, I applaud you. I hope to learn this skill better.