Our Kids Need This More Than We Think

I’ve started to see that my children are at-risk youth. Now, we don’t live in a neighborhood plagued by gang violence. Their school provides a great education and attentive teachers. They have both parents fully engaged in their lives and modeling what love looks like. They have ample food, drawers full of warm clothes, decent health care, and even a growing college savings fund.

What’s the risk?

They are learning that they are entitled to these things. They are sheltered in the Truman bubble of American suburbia. Sickness is contained. Hunger is invisible. Opportunity is plush. Need is hidden.

Jesus came for the sick not the healthy. Jesus came to seek and save those who are lost. Blessed are the meek, on and on. Our children are at-risk from being raised without growing a grateful heart of one who serves. I try, small attempts here and there. Again and again to get my kids to see how grateful they should be for what they have.

“Be grateful for that beef stew even if you don’t like it, some kids never get to eat meat!”

“Be grateful for your clean water even though its not triple berry cooler punch. Some kids have to walk five miles for their clean water!”

Those should/shaming messages haven’t worked entirely well!

But I’ve found a new way. It’s sort of an old way actually. Gratitude and service is best caught not taught.

I live in the same bubble they live in. So I can try to shame message them and thrust them into activities to shape their little at-risk hearts. Or I can show them what gratitude and service looks like in the bubble, lived out by me. And take them out of the bubble WITH me as often as possible.

We’ve had some beautiful moments like this together as I am responding to God to serve others, to step into worlds where need is more visible, or to break out in grateful prayer for the simple things, making sure my kids share in that with me. I can tell it is a lesson they are willing to listen to because they are watching me grow too.

What ideas do you have to help our kids learn gratitude and service from us?

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