Monday, April 4, 2016

Mom-ing Through Faith: On Entitlement...In YOU, Part 1

If you are ready to get real, I mean REALLY REAL; if you are ready to be honest, I mean REALLY HONEST; if you are ready to be vulnerable, I mean REALLY VULNERABLE, then this post, and actually the next few Mom-ing Through Faith posts, are for you.
If not, no judgment here! Just feel free to check back in later in the week for my more light-hearted, virtual scrapbook-esque posts I write as my own little online journal.
Still with me? Still ready to be real and honest and vulnerable?
Okay, then. Buckle up. Let's go.
A couple months ago, I heard about this book called Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World. I knew I wanted to add it to my to-read list. When it was recommended again a couple weeks ago, I knew the time had come.
Here's the thing: I had noticed something that was becoming increasingly alarming about my own kids--they were always asking for MORE, MORE, MORE.
For example, I would offer a surprise cookie and they would immediately ask for another, before even taking a bite of the one I had given them. Another example? Because their very loving and amazing grandparents do as many grandparents do, and spoil them with little surprises and gifts pretty much every time we see them, my kiddos grew into the habit of asking, "What'd ya bring me?" each time we saw them. This is just the tip of the iceberg. They just always seemed to want MORE, MORE, MORE without appreciating what they already HAD, HAD, HAD.
Now, my kids are young (6, 4, and almost 2), so I decided the time was now: I wanted to start to instill a deep-rooted sense of gratitude at these formative ages for what they are blessed to have, with the hope that this would become part of the fabric of their character.
So. I bought the book. And in the early, quiet hours one Saturday morning, I opened the book. I read the intro of the book. And I stopped dead in my tracks. It was like someone had knocked the breath out of me.
Ever so timidly, I tiptoed forward into Chapter 1 and, again, it became so glaringly obvious that it took my breath away:
I am the ungrateful one. I am the entitled one.
I needed this book just as much for myself as I did for my children.
And forgive me for being so forthright in my assumption (GULP!), but I would be willing to bet that you, too, are entitled and ungrateful.
Before you (I) get defensive, let me explain. Let me showcase just a tidbit about some of what this book has to offer, and you can then decide to unabashedly agree or disagree. Ready? Let's go:

Tell me if this scenario fits you in any way, shape, or form. This is a true tale from my own life:
I moved to Atlanta straight out of college to attend graduate school. My fiance and I rented an apartment that was nicer than we had even hoped and were giddy over our luxurious accommodations. --> The apartment felt smaller by the minute. We wanted our own space. We bought a 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom condo in Atlanta. We were giddy over the nice location and beauty of our first official home. --> Surprise! I found out I was pregnant. I broke down, informing my hub that this condo was simply and not.good.enough. a place to raise my first baby. --> We rented out our condo. We bought a 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom house down the road. We were giddy over the glorious yard and increase in square footage. --> Time marched on. We welcomed Baby #2, which meant there was no longer a guest bedroom and the toys were taking over our shrinking-by-the-minute home. We decided that we were ready to move closer to family. --> We sold our Atlanta house and bought a beautiful 6-bedroom, 4-bathroom home in the Mill and were giddy over the beautiful flat back yard and increase in square footage. --> We settled in and adored our new home...but soon admitted it was lacking the basement, open floor plan, and front porch we desired. --> We began discussions to build our "dream home" in a few years.
Y'all. Seriously? Ugh. Ugly but true. What a spoiled brat I feel like even writing that truth out.
Indeed, I read this line from THE book and it smacked me in the face: 

What had once been more than enough eventually became not enough.
Hello, my life. Nice to meet you. 

I was outgrowing my home because I was sinking deep in my own selfishness.
Why, why, why are we (I) constantly in pursuit of more, more, more? I am going to repeat this sentiment several times over the next few weeks. Because I need to read it again, again, again, and maybe you do, too?: 

When we die and go to heaven, we don't take our stuff with us.
Stuff is stuff. Stuff.Is.Stuff. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't matter. It truly doesn't. It is STUFF. What is the point in our constant desire to accummulate more, more, more when, at the end of the day, it.doesn't.matter. People matter. Relationships matter. Jesus matters. Material stuff? It doesn't matter.
Research shows that it's not stuff that makes people happy. It's not boasting an overstuffed closet full of clothes and shoes. It's not owning the newest car. It's not taking the most luxurious trips. It's not having the biggest and most nicely decorated home on the block. It's not the boat nor the pool nor the luxuries we think we deserve. It's not the STUFF. It's the relationships that we cultivate and nourish and grow that matter most. And, what's more, it's not the quantity of the friends we have that matters. It's the quality--the intimacy and depth of those relationships that matter. This is what life is all about, what happiness is all about, with our relationship with Jesus being Numero Uno, of the utmost importance, in my opinion.
I am entitled and ungrateful. But I am determined to change.
Are you?
Oh, you guys, I have SO much more I want to say about this. And I will. Next week. For now, though, will you do me a favor and be honest with yourself? Ask yourself these questions and take some time to truly be HONEST and reflect on your answers:
For you, was what once was enough no longer enough? Are you in constant pursuit of more, more, more? Do your purchases and plans and goals and dreams reflect a desire to keep up with the Joneses? Do you covet what your neighbor has--the house, the car, the trip, the clothes, the luxuries? Do you see the highlight reels on social media and pursue what others portray as their real lives? Is more never enough?
Like I said, let's be REAL and HONEST and VULNERABLE here. If you aren't ready to do that, no problemo. Just skip out on the next few Mom-ing Through Faith posts. 'Cause this stuff is hard to admit and hard to swallow. If you are ready and willing, then let's do it. I'll see you back here next Monday where things are going to get REAL and HONEST and VULNERABLE and...DICEY.

1 comment:

  1. In reply to this, I would say that I used to earn a lot of money, had a company car and an American Express Card. The plusses were, however, outweighed by the fact that I never saw my family and was constantly under stress. I got rid of the job and got one with less pay where I could work from home. Never been happier!

    Nicholas Taylor @ Vancouver Business Brokers