Tuesday, July 12, 2011

From Attitude to Gratitude

It was Saturday morning.  And then it happened.  You know this sound.  It is the sound of little people feet who like to get up early and like your company as well.  Sigh.  I decide to fake sound sleep.  Little feet stop.  Little feet turn around.  Little hands close door.  Yes!  I did it.  I go back to sleeping, not faking it this time.

Twenty minutes later, scenario repeats.  Only this time, little  big voice announces that he has made me breakfast in bed.  I am foggy.  He continues to tell me that his daddy taught him that this was the way you make your wife happy.  Wait!  What kind of breakfast did he make me all by himself?  Daddy is gone to work.  Tween sister is at a sleepover.  Yikes.  I am wide awake now.  And then he presents.  Slightly burnt crunchy yummy toast with four ounces ample squeezable grape jelly and nine manhandled lightly washed blueberries.  Yes, there were nine.  I counted them.

Wow.  He is thrilled to serve me.  I am proud to be his mom.  He is so proud of himself.  I am...in desperate need of coffee.  (Especially with the sugar high I am feeling from the jelly right now.)

It was a beautiful moment.  My almost eight year old is growing up.  We relish in the moment together.  I drink my coffee and eat my lovingly prepared breakfast in bed.

Twenty minutes later, it happens.  You know "it."  "It" is the attitude that creeps in after we have done something nice for someone.   "It" is the attitude of reciprocity.  And "it" came on with a vengeance in my son.  He wants to know if I will take him to ToysRUs to get a toy because he made breakfast for me.  Whaaaa?  My motherly instinct of teaching life lessons in the middle of life crises kicks in.  "Son, you made breakfast for me because you wanted to do something nice for me, to show your love for me, right?  Not to get something in return.  We do things for people because we love them and want to serve them, not  to gain leverage for purposes of negotiation."  (Ok, so I didn't say that last part, but I wanted to!)

He makes a sour face.  He leaves the room.

Twenty minutes later, he returns.  (He kind of works in 20 minute shifts.)  He is now fixated on the idea of going to TRU and getting a prize.  He has now positioned himself firmly with a sense of entitlement.

Patience wavering.  Life lesson #2.  I give him a sheet of paper and write at the top, "What I am thankful for..."  I tell him it is hard to have this "attitude" of entitlement if we take time to think about and be grateful for what we already have.

He begins his list.  He gets frustrated.  He throws away the first paper.  He starts the second paper and this is what he comes up with:

Ritzy and Cookie are our dogs.  Bunk Bed comes in third, with food, pool, upstairs, and trampoline following.  And then...my personal favorite...he is thankful for having a lot (not just a little) TALINT.  So true, my sweet boy.  And then lots of toys with oh, and a family there at the end.

Gratitude.  When we realize the amazing ways in which God has blessed us.  When we realize we have everything we need and a lot of what we want as well.  When we gain perspective.

Gratitude has an uncanny habit of replacing "attitude."  Because it is really hard to have a sense of entitlement and need of reciprocity when you realize that the Ultimate Giver has lavished His love, grace and mercy on you.  Undeservedly.

Lord, I know that I am so often like a child desiring recognition and reciprocity for my service.  I can also be very needy and "wanty" not realizing what I have already been blessed with.  Give me an attitude of gratitude that I might see the amazing gifts that You have graciously given me.

"Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens.  This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live."  1 Thess. 5: 16 - 18 (Msg)

So, do you need an attitude change?  What would your gratitude list look like?


Bekah Wommack said...

You make him sound so much cuter in writing!

glorygirl said...

Awwww....sounds like an eight year old boy of mine! You handled that so well:-)

Debra Burrows said...

Well written and well handled. Too bad we can't hand 'cranky adults' a piece of paper and have them write their list!

Anonymous said...

I heard Chuck Norris called for you.....he wants parenting tips! Love the blog, Kelli. (as usual)