Is our family rich?

By Ashley Devonish | Category: The Journey of Motherhood

There are a host of things that I want my children to learn before they leave our nest.  Among them is the attitude of gratitude.

I believe that being thankful is among the most important things we can master and pass on to our children.  I believe that a thankful heart can bring light to any dark place.  I believe that being thankful helps to ward off feelings of entitlement, greed, selfishness and pride.  I believe that we all can nourish our spirit with feasting on gratitude.

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  1 Thessalonians 5:18

Trent and I have noticed something unwelcome invading our home lately.  I believe it has been unintentionally invited in on the shirttails of good things.  Our children, lacking of no good thing, are lacking in a deep way.  Our North American lifestyle of blessings has handed them a clean, safe home, stocked cupboards, a closet of clean clothes, a backyard complete with swings, chickens and age appropriate toys bursting from their rooms.  What it has not given them is a sense of deep appreciation.

A trip to the park?  Fun, but nothing special.

A day at the beach?  Exciting, but would be better if we also went got ice cream on the way home.

Food on the table at every meal?  Why wouldn’t it be?

Clean water at any moment desired?  Of course!

Trent and I have had it.  It is time to take things to the next step.  We recognize that it is going to take effort to install in our children the reality of how much we have to be thankful for and how to avoid overlooking the BASIC things that we enjoy everyday.  We also want to avoid replacing any feelings of entitlement with guilt.  Having blessings is not something to feel guilty about, yet it is also not something to take for granted.

A while back Hunter asked if we were rich. Our answer?

Yes we are rich.  (I am basing this on the fact that anyone who makes over $37,000 a year is in the top 4% in the world for income earned.)*  We have everything we need plus things we want, we have more than enough.  Not only that but we are rich in family and friends.  To top all of that off we have a God that loves us and we love Him.  And because we trust and believe what the Bible says, we know we will spend eternity with Him so in addition to being wealthy we have hope for an amazing future.  Aren’t we richly blessed?

I believe we have a tough job ahead of us.  Teaching rich kids to see life though new eyes takes effort.  However, nothing worthwhile is void of struggle.  My desire is to focus on one topic at a time helping our family to have a greater awareness and appreciation not only for what they have but what they have to offer by finding practical ways that they can make a difference in the lives of those who need help and hope.  If you find yourself in a similar place with your family, I invite you to join alongside us and offer your input, suggestions or share your thoughts and feedback.

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. 1 Timothy 6:17-19

Tomorrow we will begin with the first topic: Water.

If your heart was stirred and you want to read more, I suggest clicking over to Simple Mom’s post titled “Neither poverty nor riches”.

*This fact was learned after listening to a fantastic sermon series by Andy Stanley called “How to be rich“.

Ashley Devonish

I have a passion for helping moms and encouraging them in their journey through motherhood. I invite you to journey along with me!

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Posted Monday, September 19, 2011

10 Responses to “Is our family rich?”

  1. This is fabulous, Heather! My husband and I have been struggling with this same thing. We’re not in the top 4% but we definitely don’t go without. I get sick some days at the ungrateful attitudes that come from my children. I get equally sick when I think about the poverty and destitution in the world that I am not actively helping or even teaching my children about on a regular basis. I’ve been striving for ways to reconcile these two “illnesses ” in our home but it’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day of “keeping up with the Joneses.” Thank you for sharing, I look forward to your ideas, discoveries and insights.

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    mom4life Reply:

    @Mandy, I am so glad you can relate (well actually, I wish no one could relate if you know what I mean:). Please share your thoughts as I share mine in the next few days, I would love for us to all gain from this:)!

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  2. Our family does a couple of things to help our children realize just how blessed we are. On Fridays, for example, we give up meat and have simple suppers such as bean burritos with brown rice. Having a simple and small meal once a week can help children realize they can survive with less and gives us a chance to point out that some people in the world don’t even have that much food to eat over the course of the week.

    During Lent our children give up something like TV, computer time, desserts, etc. They can also decide to do something such as help out more around the house, say some extra prayers for someone during the week, and more. By doing so, they may come to realize they don’t really need the things they gave up or perhaps they become grateful for the computer. Having not used it for weeks they realize just how much easier that little machine can make our lives. That realization can lead to an ‘A ha’ moment of gratitude.

    We have been lucky that our children don’t tend to expect a treat each time we go somewhere. We have been trying to teach them the value of the dollar and how not to rely on credit. I have explained the difference between buying an ice cream bar at the zoo, for example, and buying a whole carton of ice cream at the store. Even the little ones can quickly understand how much more treat we all could have if we shop at the store instead of the zoo. That said, we do have special outing or special treats from time to time.

    This is a good topic, Heather. Thanks for starting the conversation.

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    mom4life Reply:

    @Trisha W., great insight! I am glad you shared what your family does. I like all of your ideas and could see us doing something similar with the one meal a week idea. Talking about the value of money and the different ways we can choose to spend our money (an ice cream cone vs. a carton of ice cream) is also very wise.

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    Trisha W. Reply:

    @mom4life, Another thing people do is take the money they would have spent on the treats they are fasting from and donate it to a charity. In the case of a family with young children, you could let each kid pick their favorite charity and rotate between the different interests of the children. For example, if you have a child that loves animals they could donate their money to a local shelter.

    Donations of talents are also great. If someone likes to sing, you could see if they’d like to go sing at a local senior’s home. If they like to bake, they could set up a cookie stand and donate the proceeds to a charity of interest. If they are artistic, they could create cards and share them with people in the service or an adopted grandparent at a senior home.

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    mom4life Reply:

    @Trisha W., wonderful thoughts again, thank you for sharing! :) I like both of those ideas and can see some great ideas forming in my head right now, keep it up;)!

  3. [...] I shared my heart on the topic of gratitude and my desire to help our children gain a greater sense of appreciation for the many ways that they [...]

  4. This is such an important topic and I’m so happy you’ve brought it to your forum! I read a book a long time ago called Growing Compassionate Kids by Jan Johnson that prompted some great things in our family. Growing compassionate children certainly doesn’t just happen. I am eager to hear about more amazing ideas and to follow your story in particular Heather! You are such a special family!

    In order to help our children “rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn” we have shared yay’s and boo’s at every meal time for several years now, each offering our favorite part of the day we were thankful for and something that wasn’t too great. It has been a great way for our children to develop skills of empathy.

    There are so many fun ways families can raise children aware of things bigger than their own surroundings. Thanks for starting this dialogue Heather! Really great stuff!
    megan recently posted..beautiful.

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    mom4life Reply:

    @megan, I LOVE that idea of “yay’s and boo’s” at meal time. We always have our kids ask another member of the family a question (which usually range from “How was your day?” to “what was your favorite part of the day?” etc). At bed time we talk about something they are thankful for and someone they want to pray for. BUT we haven’t really talked about sharing specifically something that might have been difficult in the day and I think you are right, this is a great way to learn empathy. We will start doing this! I will also see if I can’t get a copy of that book from our library:).

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  5. [...] few weeks ago I shared our hearts desire to increase the gratitude in our home and my humble plan to carry it out.  Our first gratitude project on the topic of Water primed our [...]

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