As many talk about feeling scared after the CT school shooting, debating gun control and mourning the loss of children, I too am saddened but my thoughts have been directed to what do I need to do as a mother to help my boys appreciate and respect life? What will help them not demand life on their terms? I keep thinking about our constitution. It states that we have been endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Oh how we have twisted that phrase into one of entitlement. How we demand happiness and fairness and at what lengths we go to attain this. It is not written that the Creator entitled us to these things, but rather endowed them as a gift to be treasured and not demanded.
I’ve started reading From Innocence to Entitlement. What prompted this reading was hearing my sons say a few things that really bugged me. Like, “I want cookies!”, “No brother, my spot!” (followed by a good push), Lance blaming his actions on his brother/mom/or dad, and the ultimate, refusing to apologize. Along side my irritation at hearing these things I also want my boys to be happy. But those two things don’t always side together. There will be times when my boys are happy, and may they be happy overall, but when these moments of entitlement come, it’s not happiness that results when I’m correcting and revealing the boy’s sins in their hearts. I am just like every other mom out there who wants my children to be happy. I just need to remind myself often that not even the Bible upholds happiness as the end all to achieve. That reminder must come daily because our American culture is rooted now in entitlement.
My two-year old twin boys are not going to understand a reminder from mom not to feel entitled. So what can I do to help them understand and change their hearts? That is what I’ll be exploring the next few weeks. No, I won’t just be a Debbie downer, I will focus on ways to promote gratitude and as always I’ll be showing our tot school crafts more than my parenting posts. The core feeling of that’s not fair or that’s not enough has already poked his head out in these two boys. I want to guide their hearts to gratitude, the opposite of entitlement. Gratitude for life, for their blessings and for God’s gift of salvation. For without this gratitude, their entitlement will be the biggest destroyer of relationships in their lives and that includes their relationship with me.
Just to remind myself that entitlement does steal away your happiness, just last night I was focusing on what I don’t have and what isn’t fair right now. What an unhappy wife and mother I’ll turn out to be if I don’t heed my own advice. I pray that we will become a family of gratitude because God has given us wonderful gifts to enjoy. What better way to honor those who lost their life this week than to raise our children to respect life.