My kids have this natural ability to whine and complain. It must be a gift because they’re so good at it and I haven’t given them one lesson on it. (Or perhaps it’s in their genes, since I seem to exhibit the same ability and don’t recall being taught how to do it either)
Give them one cookie and they whine when I say no to a second. Let them play a video game for a half hour and they complain when it’s time to turn it off. As them to clean up their rooms, do their homework, or eat some vegetables and sometimes you’d think I’d asked them to carry 50 pounds of manure up a 10 mile hill.
When that happens, I often do a quick little exercise with them. I say:
Name 5 things you’re thankful for.
I did this so many times it started to become cliche in our house and my children started whining about the exercise. So, I started to mix it up for fun… Tell me 4 things you’re thankful for that are red. Tell me 6 things you’re thankful for that are sticky. It can be pretty silly at times. Or it can be more serious… Tell me 3 things you’re thankful for that aren’t things. Tell me 5 people outside our family you’re thankful for.
The point is that it takes their focus away from what they don’t have and reminds them they have much to be thankful for.
And guess what…
It works for adults too.
The next time you feel like whining about traffic, your job, your struggles, what someone else has that you don’t… name 5 things you are thankful for.
When have you seen gratitude turn around your children’s attitude? Or your own?