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We were at the dollar store the other day picking up some paper products for a party, I was in a hurry and made the mistake of walking by the toy aisle. My 5 year old saw some cheap, plastic doll and immediately started whining for it. “Please Mommy, pleeeeaaaase, can I just buy one thing?” “No,” I told her, “we came here to get napkins and plates, we don’t need to buy anything else.” “BUT MOMMMMY! PLEEEASE! I WANT IT!!” she cried. Before I could say anything else to her she then says: “It’s only one dollar!”
It is so hard in our society and world today to raise children to be content with what they have and to not want more. It is really tough when there are commercials and toy catalogs and magazines and gigantic toy aisles in every single store that you go into! We also have that selfish sin nature that we were all born with to battle as well! So, what is a mother to do? We have to teach our children how to be content.
From the Webster Dictionary:
Simple Definition of content
: pleased and satisfied : not needing more
So exactly how do we teach our children to be pleased and satisfied with what they have and not needing anymore?
Less is more:
I have found that the less they have, the simpler things become for them and they don’t continue to want more and more. I like to try to purge toys on a regular basis and keep only the things that they play with and that are of a good quality. No dollar store or Happy Meal toys! We usually give older toys away to bless other families and we never take in new items unless we have gotten rid of old ones first. This helps to keep things more simple and less stressful too.
Let them see glimpses of children in other parts of the country:
Sometimes our kids need to gain perspective of how fortunate they are. I remember when my husband got back from a trip from Africa. It took him a couple of weeks to stop scolding the kids about whining when they were hungry or wanting something. When you see poverty first hand it really puts things into perspective for you. When studying geography you can show them photos of how those children live. You can also adopt a child in another country or adopt a missionary family that serves orphans. Put a photo up and pray for them daily.
Serve in your community:
Take your family to serve in a soup kitchen or a homeless shelter, or sign up to pack a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child. It is hard to think of yourself and things you want when you are serving others and helping their simple needs to be met. I would love to make serving a once a month event!
Check out this post for more ideas on how to serve together as a family: 10 Fall/Winter Service Projects Your Whole Family Can Do Together
Show them what the Bible says about being content:
True contentment is a life-long commitment of faith, but the right foundation will equip your kids to be joyful and thankful in everything that God gives!
I found an amazing Bible Study that with help your children learn what true godly contentment is!
A Content Heart is a 22-lesson Bible study helping kids and teens to find godly contentment in a me-first world. Students will go on a journey through Scripture learning how to practically and realistically find contentment with themselves, their circumstances and their worldly possessions.
This study is written for families to work through together either in devotions or homeschool Bible time. Each member of the family works on his/her level, while studying the same topic each day. The Youth version is written for students to complete on their own, if desired and is recommended for ages 8 and up. The Junior version is written for ages 4-8 with the student contributing primarily through drawing.