A couple of months ago, my oldest son makes the wrong comment, “You don’t let me have anything. You never get me anything.” My response…”Pack it up!” That’s right…pack up all toys, movies, electronics, etc. I was hoping to instill a simple lesson about gratitude and after three days he had learned what it was like to be without. Having his toys returned was like Christmas and the gratitude he had for his toys was on a new level. Not only did his attitude change toward all that he had, but his respect for me changed as well. He saw me stick with my plan and realized that mom meant business. Now I am not saying that he has been perfectly grateful ever since as we recently had a “pack it up” powwow. (Things are actually packed up as I am typing this blog.) My son fell back into his “I want. I know best.” fiasco; therefore, we had to go without all things again. I will say though that this “pack it up” experience was different. Based on the past time, he knew exactly what this meant.
If you have a child like mine who might be experiencing some ungratefulness, I would like to suggest to “pack it up.” I know what you are thinking. This is easier said than done. What am I going to do with a child who does not have anything to keep him or her entertained? What do you do with a child who does not have any toys, t.v., electronics, etc.? What I did and what I would invite you to do is bring it back to the basics with a pencil and paper. Allow them to draw, write, or make cards. They can help with cleaning and cooking and the list could go on.
I am hoping that this go around my son’s attitude will shift in less than three days, but only time will tell. I do know that sometimes you have to experience the same lesson over and over again until it sticks. And I am willing to “pack it up” until gratefulness grows.
Have you ever had to “pack it up”? Do you feel like it helped your child with gratefulness? What are other ways you have taught gratefulness to your children? I would love to hear.