Are We Raising Grateful Children


The holidays are over, thank goodness! Don’t get me wrong, I love the holidays and I revel in the rest and the ability to spend time with my family. Every year, my mother asks my brother and me to submit our Christmas list, and for the past 30+ years, I usually have an extremely long list (my parents give great gifts). However, since I have become a mom, as cliche as this may sound, my list has gotten shorter.

Much like many Christmas’s before, we spend a lot of time with my family opening gifts and as I buried my 2-year-old and 9 month old out of their gift mountain I couldn’t help but wonder, am I raising grateful children? The job of the grandparent is to spoil their grandchildren and I am more than grateful for everything that they do for our children. However, I can’t help but wonder, if my children are buried in gifts every Christmas will they ever really appreciate the things that they have. We live in a time when we give 4th graders iPhones and MacBook Pros so we’re obviously not operating in moderation these days. While I am guilty of indulging as well (I did give my daughter a TV for her birthday and a trip to Chicago for her 2nd birthday) I don’t want my children to be ungrateful for the things that they are constantly blessed with by not only Steve and me but their grandparents as well.

Growing up, my parents were (are) extremely big on doing something to give back. Not just during the holiday season but all year long. Each year we were required to pick an activity that would directly affect someone in a positive way. So we would adopt a family or even volunteer at centers and do holiday parties. I’ve always appreciated my parents for instilling this in us and I knew that once I had children I would continue to do this. Then, life happened and I began to work random hours, got married, and then had children (back to back nonetheless) and no longer had time to do good deeds. As disappointed as I have been in myself, I realize that it isn’t too late to start a new tradition of giving back in the Beaven family. I honestly don’t mind that our children receive lots of gifts because that is the way people express their love. However, my prayer is that they do something for other people and not just during the holidays but at all times because there are only so many “things” they need and so much they can gain by giving back.