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Building Habits: An Attitude of Gratitude

July 6, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude

Superhero Scooby has been a bit down in the dumps, of late. Upon pickup at the end of the day, I’m greeted by frowns, fussing, and a generally frumpy attitude.

He’s developed a habit of complaining. *gasp*

When he sees the glass, it’s half empty. The donut has a hole missing. The day is horrible because of what he’s not getting to finish right now.

He’s an in the moment kind of guy – I get that.

But something had to be done! We are bordering on entitlement, these boys.

I don’t care that I’ve watched TV for two straight hours! I am furious about the show I didn’t get to watch!

I don’t care that you pack my lunch for me every single day. You didn’t use white bread! 

I don’t care that I had dessert the last four nights in a row, I didn’t get dessert tonight!

I want THAT transformer. I don’t have THOSE LEGOs. I wanted jelly, not honey! 

Someone said recently that our current younger generations were born on third base, but raised to believe they’d hit a triple.

Not this family. Not these boys. Not our style.

So, Mad Mom Genius that I am, I hatched a brilliant scheme.

Take away all their TV! Woot!

Ok, no, that’s not the entire plan, but that would be the carrot.

Our new house policy is this: you watch what you earn. You earn by showing gratitude, grace and thankfulness. Unprompted –  and I’m strict on this – unprompted acts of kindness, graciousness and gratefulness earn you time in front of the telly. No more, no less.

And I’m pretty stingy with that time. Five minutes here. Five minutes there. They are working for it.

It’s like the M&Ms and potty training trick – eventually it becomes a habit and you forget to ask for the carrot. I hope.

Gratitude is a habit – it’s a decision, a deliberate state of mind. I know how hard it is to keep gratitude top of mind – I wrote about it for 21 days (or, rather, I wrote 21 times about it over the course of a few months) and learned a lot in the process.  (I just went back to link to my Gratitude Challenge series from a couple of years ago and realized that I haven’t posted a Gratitude Monday post in ages. Guess I need to re-boot an old habit myself.)

I’ll be honest, it’s been a slow start. I think they’ve gotten maybe 30 minutes out of the last several days. The unprompted thing is killing them. And, in the spirit of honesty, I’ll admit I had my doubts. Maybe this wasn’t going to work and I would never again have the luxury of an hour of peace and quiet in my house! Ack!

But today, today it finally started to take off on the drive home.There was some prompting on my part. Don’t forget guys – you haven’t earned any TV time yet for today.

It started slowly…thank you for my snack, mom. Thank you for carrying my bag, mom. 

I reiterate – guys, this isn’t about thanking me, it’s about being thank-FULL. Grateful. Looking for blessings and not for what you didn’t get, don’t have. 

And then it started to build….I’m so thankful that I had a hot lunch today. 

Thank you God for giving me the talent to draw.

And then, they really did hit a triple. One a-piece in fact.

God, thank you for giving me the best brother in the world.

I almost drove off the road.

Thank you for giving us the best mommy in the whole world!

Oh, baby, you just bought yourself an entire episode of Phineas and Ferb. Yes, you did.

“There’s 104 days of summer vacation…”

8 Comments leave one →
  1. July 6, 2012 7:53 am

    Awesome post! Great ideas, insights and reminders…just what I needed this week. Very top of mind in our household, too…much appreciated! 🙂

  2. Bethany Hall Fitelson permalink
    July 6, 2012 9:37 am

    I love that idea. The quote you passed along about being born on third base is really accurate. I think it’s going to take a lot of effort on our part as parents to balance giving your child everything you have dreamed of giving them without letting them feel entitled. I love one of Dave Ramsey’s household finance rules is that kids earn allowance for EXTRA chores, not ALL chores. They do chores because they are part of this family and that’s what we all do – for free! But if they want spending money, they have to go above and beyond the usual duty. I love that.

    Your line about “you just bought an entire episode…” was priceless! Haha.

    • July 6, 2012 9:48 am

      Totally agree with Dave Ramsey on chores and allowance! We all have jobs around the house because we ALL live there.

  3. July 6, 2012 3:16 pm

    Thanks for visiting my blog. I’m sending my daughter to read yours. What a plan! Gratitude and thanksgiving transform me, too. Blessings.

  4. July 8, 2012 4:13 pm

    I love this, and I love the article you got the quote from. Not a mom, but here’s my two cents: it worked for us. My mom didn’t give us tv if we were grateful (we had “thank you” stamped into our hearts by way of our backside when we didn’t remember to give thanks), but we earned super mario time by doing things we didn’t want to do. Like fixing our bed or taking our medicine, volunteering to help clean up or helping my youngest sister open her juicebox without being asked. We learned that you have to do the things that aren’t fun – the obligations of daily living – if we wanted to have time for the fun stuff. And it gave as a really good work ethic, I think. Same concept, different applications. Keep at it, Adelle; you’re raising some amazing boys!

  5. November 16, 2012 3:52 am

    Awesome post!!! I love it! Thank you for linking this one up! I hope you’ll stop by and link up again. Have a great weekend.

  6. January 25, 2013 2:03 pm

    Awesome! This post is not only funny but inspiring 🙂 Thanks, Adelle!

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