You Get What You Get …

… and you don’t get upset.

I’ve echoed this saying to my children many times. It’s rooted in the mindset to be grateful for what you have. Many times after repeating this adage in response to a barrage of, “Why can’t I have that?!”, I felt discouraged. I asked myself, “Are my children destined to be spoiled and entitled?”

I’ve always had an attitude of gratitude. Most of my temperament was from living through seasons of ‘harvest’ and ‘famine’ during my childhood. I quickly learned to be grateful for everything especially since it could all be taken away swiftly and easily.

My children however want for nothing. Even when my husband was laid off, we still kept things afloat. Throughout my children’s upbringing, I had to find ways to impress upon them how fortunate they are and instill gratitude in their hearts.

I took them with me to donate to churches and food banks. We watched documentaries on how less fortunate some children their ages are in other parts of the world. A part of their allowance or gift monies is marked for charity. We even went to my old neighborhood of North Philadelphia, where they could see the dilapidated buildings and homelessness in some parts of that community.

Still, I wondered if my efforts would be enough. I wondered if they were really retaining the life lessons I was imparting on them.

Well yesterday, my 7 year old son starting telling me one of his classmates has a wheeled book bag that lights up. I braced myself for him asking for one as I just purchased a wheeled book bag (no lights) for him last month. He went on to say, “I don’t really care though. It’s just cool. I have my own light up sneakers. So we both have light up things.” And he went on about his day, leaving me with eyes wide, mouth agape, and spilling suds as I was in the middle of washing dishes. I was frozen like that for a good minute or two. See a year ago, my son would have asked for said light-up wheeled bookbag, and commenced to a break down when told no. But not that day. Glory!

After I collected myself, I made sure to gingerly tell him I was proud of him and pointed out he should be proud of himself as well.

Now, I want my children to aspire to live their best lives. I want them to work hard for the finer things in life. I just also want them to appreciate their current situation while working for a better tomorrow. Finally – I think I can say I’ve been on the right path; so, I will continue to forge on and further lay the foundation for a lifelong attitude of gratitude.

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