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Help kids go from complaining to content in 60 seconds

Recently my fashionista daughter was struggling with her outfit for church. And by “struggling” I mean complaining that she did not have shoes that “matched” her outfit.

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My hippie child is morphing into a hipster daughter…the one who NEVER matches. She is fearless in what she wears–loud colors and prints mish-mashed together, even layered to achieve her intended look. So when she complained that she had no shoes to match her outfit, I was truly at a loss.

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I cocked my head and looked at her hard for a minute. The issue wasn’t with the matching; the “issue” was something deeper.

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We lined up the four pairs of summer shoes she had to choose from and picked the “least awful” pair–some plain black flip-flops.

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Then we sat down and had a chat:

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me: Look at your flip flops. Can you think of three things about them that you are thankful for?

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her: <haughtily> I have shoes.

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me: Yes. I can’t tell you how many children I’ve seen in poorer countries who don’t have a single pair of shoes, much less four pairs to choose from. What else?

her: <a tiny bit less haughtily>They aren’t broken yet.

me: That is something to be thankful for. Do you know that in some places, you are not allowed to go to school unless you have a uniform and shoes? Some kids want to go to school so much that they wear broken flip flops or shoes that are too small and hurt their feet. It’s a privilege to have shoes that are not broken and fit you perfectly. Can you think of one more thing?

her: <begrudgingly> They are comfortable.

me: Who gave you those shoes?

her: God.

me: How do you think it made God feel that you complained about the good shoes He gave you?

her: Sad.

I was proud that she had come to a solid conclusion and could see the effect of her actions. By turning situations where we are prone to complain into a time to practice observing at least three ways we can be thankful instead, we are teaching our children to live out Ephesians 5:20:

“Always give thanks to God the Father for everything. Give thanks to him in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

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Jenna has been in love with words all her life—especially God’s Word that helped her realize her need for a Savior in the first grade. She loves using words to help advance the message of OneHope. She is married to Dan and has 4 children ages 8, 10, 11 & 13.

AUTHOR

Jenna Scott

All stories by: Jenna Scott