My Child? Have a Meltdown in the Store? No Way!!
Please, bear with me as I get this out.
So it was all set. Everything was mapped out.
I explained to my children before we left that today's shopping trip was primarily to pick up supplies so we could make gifts for our family members. We might grab a few Christmas decorations and check on a birthday cake for the baby (he'll be one on Thursday--time flies!). But, other than that, the trip would be for others.
We even prayed for joy in hearts as we set out, on our way to the Dollar Store.
Then it happened.
My oldest daughter pointed out a stuffed animal that she though was cute. It was a little puppy all decked out for Christmas. My other daughter and I looked and both agreed that it was cute, and we moved on (or so I thought). Well, we continued on with our shopping and I sent my daughters back over to a previous section to put a few things back. Mistake. It was the section with those cute little puppies in it. They looked something like this:
All my younger daughter was thinking about was how she could get that puppy.
So, we're standing there and I'm talking to my daughters' swim teacher, who just happens to be behind us in line and, I looked down and my younger daughter was in tears. I mean BIG TIME tears--I thought she was in pain, maybe she hurt her eye (from the way she was rubbing them) or maybe she had been frightened or harmed in some way. So I'm like, "What's wrong? What's the matter? Tell Mommy, what's wrong!"
Her response, through the multitude of tears, "I just can't take it anymore! That puppy was so cute! I can't take it, it just looks so cute." Can we say D-R-A-M-A? Unbelievable! This was a bit uncharacteristic, even for my VERY expressive daughter--all because she knew if she asked for the puppy, the answer would be no. Today was about others.
I began thinking of the right way to correct her in this situation, because her behavior was not acceptable. We are NOT wealthy folks by any means, but God has blessed my children to have WAY more than I ever did as a kid. He has blessed us beyond measure to have what we need and many things we want. How to translate that to a 7 year old--cultivating a heart of gratitude?
When we got home, she apologized, I forgave. But we talked about it. I told her it's easy to feel like we just have to have what we see. (After all, that's what our society tells us--if you see it and you want it, then you should have it, especially at this time of year.) But I explained that her attitude and her behavior didn't reflect a girl who is thankful for what she already has. I told her that gratitude is being satisfied with what you already having, knowing that it is enough.
In her case, more than enough. You see, my little girl is an animal lover and she LOVES stuffed animals. And, she has many of them, perhaps too many, considering her behavior today. (Husband and I had a talk about this later.)
So, I gave her an assignment. I told her to count all of the stuffed animals she has, everyone of them. Then she was to count all of the stuffed animals her sister has and then add the 2. (They share a room and for the most part, they share just about everything.) Well come to find out, she has 30 stuffed animals that are hers ALONE and between the 2 of them they have 52 stuffed animals!!!!!
|These aren't theirs, but you get the idea!|
I explained that Mommy had to demonstrate gratitude and self-control today, as well. That's the whole reason I asked my girls to put some of the decorations back, because I knew I could use what I already had, and be grateful for that. I also told her that our blessings don't entitle us to have more. Just because we give her stuffed animals as an expression of love, doesn't mean she's supposed to get one every time she sees one.
I told her that we would count other items/toys that she has throughout the week to reiterate that what we already have is a blessing and that it is more than enough. I'm hopeful and prayerful that she will grow to understand this:
(Prayers are much appreciated!)