Friday, May 22, 2009

A lesson in contentment

Like most kids, Nathan will often ask for more of something before he's even finished with what he already has. For example, at the grocery store, they often hand him a roll of Smarties at the check-out. (Sometimes I'm thankful for the distraction, other times I'd rather pass on the extra sugar!) Before he's even half-way through the treat, Nathan regularly asks for more candy. Wanting to curb this attitude, I usually say something to the effect of "Nathan, please don't ask for more. You need to be thankful for what you have."

Fast forward to yesterday morning. We sat down at the table to color, and Nathan opened his box of crayons. He started handing me some, and then said (you guessed it!): "Please don't ask for more, Mommy. You need to be thankful for what you have." At first, I was amused by his words. I hadn't asked for any crayons, let alone more, and it was kind of funny to hear my words repeated back to me verbatim.

Then as his words sunk in a bit more, I thought, "Thank You, Lord, that he's getting it." Of course it's OK to ask for more in certain situations, but I'm trying to teach contentment and thankfulness (especially) when Nathan receives gifts or special treats.

But then, I had a third wave of realization--I thought of Jesus saying those same words to me: "Please don't keep asking for more, Carrie. You need to be thankful for what you have." It was a poignant reminder to me that so often I selfishly clamor or daydream for more, and I need to be thankful--for all that I've been given.


Mom said...

This is an important lesson for us at any age! I'm glad to hear that Nathan is learning this so young. :) One of my life lessons in contentment has had to do with how many children we had. I wanted a big family. For years, I fretted about wanting more children. But God's response to me was "please don't ask for more -- be thankful for who you have" -- and I am! I'm very thankful for you and Monica and your sweet families -- and now I do have a big family with the addition of sons-in-law and five precious grandbabies! Love you lots, Mom

Carmen said...

Great reminder. I can just hear Nathan saying that to you :) I need that reminder too...not to ask for more but to just be thankful for all I have.

Wendi said...

I am so glad that N is getting it. It is a very hard thing to understand. Contentment is something that I struggle with from time to time.

I loved your mom's response. It brought tears to my eyes and a smile to my face. I posted today about how hard it is to desire more children and to know that the answer will be no.

Have a great weekend!

Katie said...

Oh Carrie, what a precious story from beginning to end. I love how you related it to our relationship with the Lord. Powerful and so true!! Thanks for sharing!

Have a wonderful weekend,

NeedANap2 said...

You could probably head off the sugar rush by requesting "no sweets please" before they hand any to him. This has become an issue since our oldest was diagnosed with diabetes last fall. At the bank a few weeks ago, I wrote a note and sent it in with the deposit requesting no lollipops please! (That way the kids didn't even hear them ask.)

We used to always stop at the bakery where most times they'll give the kids cookies. It's nice when they're little and it lasts through the whole store, now it seems to be gone in 2 seconds! :)

Thanks for the spiritual reminder! Contentment is a big issue with our children (and ourselves).

debra said...

Cute- they do listen to us even when we think they don't.

Loved your mom's comment, too.

kelseylynae said...


This post was a good lesson for me right now as well...and Nathan is a quick learner :)

AND YES! I did show him that I lived by the horse when I was there...who would have thought that those 5 seconds would have stuck with him! See, a very quick learner! (In the last post I see that Natalie is growing quickly. Maybe I'll get to drop in again this summer...we'll see)

"Aunt" Kelsey (HA)

Angela - Life w/ Two Busy Boys said...

Isn't it so surreal to hear your own words echo back from your children. I'm thankful that most of my experiences have been good ones. Children are great teachers aren't they!

Michelle said...

You said it! Thank you for the gentle reminder...I am continually trying to be content with what I have. To bloom where I am planted. To be glad that I have anything at all...and really, that I live in abundance. I'm glad that you are teaching your children early...xo

Jenn @ Beautiful Calling said...

An ever so gentle reminder from the Lord. Thank you for sharing this. It is something we can all benefit from! Praise the Lord for littles!