Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World
Podcast #86 — Aired March 14, 2016

It’s never too late to raise grateful kids. This week on BetterWorldians Radio we’re talking with Kristen Welch, author of Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World. Welch will tell listeners about her own family’s journey toward a more grateful life and what other parents can take from the lessons she’s learned along the way.

Sign Up for New Shows & Updates!

Kristen Welch
Author, Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World
Blogger, We Are THAT Family

Kristen is also the author of “Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World,” as well as “Rhinestone Jesus” and the parenting blog, “We are THAT family. She is an in(Courage) writer, a frequent speaker, and the founder of Mercy House, a nonprofit that empowers women around the globe. Kristen lives with her husband and three children in Texas. Learn more at weareTHATfamily.com.

Episode Transcript

Raymond Hansell
Hi, welcome to BetterWorldians Radio. BetterWorldians Radio is a weekly broadcast whose mission is to uplift and inspire you to make the world a better place. Im Ray Hansell joined today by my co-host MarySue Hansell and Gregory Hansell. BetterWorldians Radio is brought to you by the family team that created the popular social game on Facebook called A Better World. It rewards players for doing good deeds, while helping to raise money and awareness for charities. To date over thirty-nine million good deeds have been done in A Better World by more than four million people. Good deeds include expressions of gratitude, acts of kindness, and sending notes to real world sick kids, just to name a few. This week were discussing the book Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World, with author Kristen Welch. Kristen is also author of Rhinestone Jesus, and the parenting blog, We are THAT family. She is an in(Courage) writer, a frequent speaker, and founder of Mercy House, a nonprofit that empowers women around the globe. Kristen lives with her husband and three children in Texas.

Gregory Hansell
Hi Kristen this is Greg, thank you for joining us today on BetterWorldians Radio.

Kristen
Thank you, happy to be here.

Gregory Hansell
Yeah great to have you here. So if you wouldnt mind, could you share with our listeners the story about the cowboy boots that inspired your mission to raise grateful kids?

Kristen
Sure. Well I think that we all have those pivotal parenting moments where we realize something is going to change, that redefines maybe the way we parent or the way that we see our homes. And for our family, we call it the entitlement boots story and were able to laugh about it now. But we live in the heart of Texas and we try to go to the huge livestock show and rodeo every year in Houston. And its a big treat for our family and several years ago we wanted to buy our kids their first pair of cowboy boots, which is like a right of passage here. So we had saved money and we had went down to the rodeo and we were in the boot stall and we had our kids try on boots, and the whole way down to the rodeo one of my kids just had a terrible attitude and we kept, you know, trying to distract and encourage and those quickly turned to you better straighten up kind of parenting moments. And so when we got the boots, it the attitude, you know, it stopped for a little bit, but we had a great day and on the way home, this same child wearing the brand new cowboy boots just continued having a really just griping and complaining and it just got all over my husband and I. We were so discouraged that we had, you know, he had taken off work and we had saved money for this day and our one kid felt like they were kind of sabotaging our family time with just a bad attitude. And so that turned into discipline, and so my husband told our child that when we got home to take the boots off and put them back in the box and what was a gift, would now be a reward for hard work. And so, he told our child if you want the boots back youre going to have to work for them now. And so, that was one of those moments where I was hurting for my child but proud of my husband and the decision that we made because it had been escalating for several months, this really ingratitude, this bad attitude and so when I heard the front door click and my child walked outside in the rain to pull weeds for the next two days to earn those boots back. It changed something in our home. It was really the day we called out entitlement and said were not going to live this way. This is not okay. And we required hard work and when my child got those boots back, my husband said, you know, these, youve earned these and you wont lose them again. And that one child of mine loves those boots still to this day, it was this special, it turned into this special moment for our family.

Gregory Hansell
You know I love that part of the book because it wasnt just the lesson of getting them to kind of make up for what theyve done and come to see their entitlement. But once they had earned the boots, you know, it was a lesson for them to understand what it means to earn something, how special that is, and how there is a belonging with something you earn thats very different than something youre just given. I thought that was great. So it reminds me actually of my next question, you know, your book is called, Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World. But you say its not a guide, its more of a confessional. Why is that?

Kristen
Well Im a mom and Im in the trenches and I have a stack of parenting books on my bookshelf, like most parents do, and I didnt want to create another resource that was, you know, from a professional behind a desk. Because thats not me, Im in the trenches with other moms and dads and trying to figure this out. So its definitely not a how to, or we did it right so can you book. It is a confessional of the hard, hard road of parenting and how challenging it can be. And I think theres this misconception that, you know, good parenting isnt hard parenting. But good parenting makes parenting harder, because were stepping into a situation where our kids are sinful, they want their way, theyre selfish, theyre born, you know, with this human nature, they want what they want and they want it now. And were stepping in that path and were saying were going to be grateful, were going to work for it, were going to say no. Its okay for you to be unhappy sometimes and when we do that it makes parenting harder in a lot of ways. But, you know, we have understand that temporary unhappiness produces long term contentment later on. And so yes sometimes these choices in raising grateful kids cause temporary unhappiness in our home, but parenting is a marathon, its not a sprint and were trying to produce children who become adults who think of others and put others first, and who give back to our world and not just take.

Gregory Hansell
Yeah, no absolutely, it can be very difficult. But as you say its very rewarding when through that effort the kids can, you know, begin to see whats truly important. So you know, you talk a lot in the book about how entitled kids have become. Why do you think kids in America today have become kind of more entitled than maybe they were in the past?

Kristen
Well I think it starts with this concept of the American dream and Im right with the next person, I love the freedom in our country and I love the opportunity and comforts that we get to enjoy. But I think this idea of we deserve it, and the American dream is about getting all you can, and keeping it for ourselves. I think that has infiltrated every aspect of our lives. And so weve decided as a culture that happiness is our ultimate goal and its effected our children and its filtered down into our parenting, and we have an entire culture of kids, I mean you just have to turn on the news, from the political scene or you know, the million student march, these kids expect free tuition, college tuition because they deserve it. It has filtered into every aspect of our lives and we have a whole culture, a generation of kids who really dont want to work hard, they want their parents to call their college professors because they didnt get their assignment in on time, they want to move back home at twenty-eight, twenty-nine because theyre in between jobs. You know its just become this rampant problem in our society, and I think it really begins with this mentality of I deserve, I deserve it, I deserve what I want, and I think that starts with the American dream.

Gregory Hansell
Yeah, yeah I think thats right. You give two different examples in the book regarding the American dream, which initially starts out as something, you know, thats more about we all have an equal right to all work hard to achieve something without any kind of obstacle or bias, and then it shifts to becoming thats more, I have a right to any single thing I want, with no obstacle. Which is very, very different. I even saw that you know, when I was a kid, you know, people whos parents would call professors, people whos parents would call college admissions offices and you know, to my parents credit they never did that. They said, youre on your own, go for it dude.

Kristen
Right.

Gregory Hansell
And Im glad they did, Im glad they did.

Kristen
Well I think, you know, what I learned in writing this book and really digging deep into the entitlement issue was that I was entitled. And thats a uncomfortable place to find yourself. I saw my own entitlement and my own ungratefulness and I realized I was entitling my kids. That I was giving in too soon, I was giving over too much, I was really a part of the problem.

Gregory Hansell
Yeah, yeah, I think thats an important piece of wisdom. I mean you tell the story in the book about the rooms you wanted painted and how you felt why dont I get to have what I want right now? Everyone else has their house painted the way, and I think, you know, what adult doesnt say something like that?

Kristen
Right, right.

Gregory Hansell
When keeping up with the Jones they look around and say how come we cant have a house with a pool, or who knows what, you know, and its good to say, hey wait a second why am I entitled to that, and how grateful should I be for what I have, and what am I passing on to my kids. I think thats great. So, how do we then teach our kids the difference between the wants and needs?

Kristen
Well I think its challenging definitely. I think it starts with really showing our kids how other people live, I think is a huge gift that we can give our kids. And we really raise grateful kids by becoming more grateful ourselves. And starting at a very early age defining the difference between wants and needs. You know when I really started thinking about what I owe my kids, and what is owed to me, the list is very short, you know, we dont owe our kids a new car on their sixteenth birthday, or college, a full paid college tuition. I mean those are things that we might be able to give them, or partially give them but really the only thing a child is really entitled to is a parents love. Its not to keep up with the family down the street, its not to upgrade every piece of technology every time a new one comes out. Our child, our children deserve our unconditional love, and thats the greatest thing we can give them and if we can realize thats what they need the most, its not things, its not more stuff, I think it really begins to effect our homes.

Gregory Hansell
Yeah. So what would you say to someone who says, well, whats the harm in giving our kids too much? You know, why not?

Kristen
Well I think its, what ends up happening is gifts become expectations and when our kids expect more than we can give them, then parents are tempted to go into debt for it and it really creates discontentment. I was talking to a mom one day who was over at my house and she is probably ten years younger than me, and we were talking about just parenting and she has very young children, and I was telling her that my teenage daughter always wants to borrow my clothes and she was like, oh thats the highest form of flattery. Which I had never thought of that way, and I was like, okay thats good perspective and I said, you know, I have to dig through her clothes on the floor to get my stuff back, I dont feel very flattered, and she said, I know what youre talking about and I said, well your little girl is only four years old, how in the world, how are you seeing entitlement in your home at such a young age? And she told me this story Ill never forget, it really, to me, is the theme of our culture and this is where our problem lies. She told me that her little girl is the only daughter in their home and they have two little boys who are one and two. So she was really feeling like she hadnt spent a lot of time with, one on one time with her daughter and wanted to spend a day with her and just do something special. And so she arranged a babysitter for her boys and pulled her daughter aside and was so excited to tell her, guess what mom is going to take you on a very special date, just the two of us. Were going to go ice-skating and were going to leave the boys at home and were going to put on skates and were going to go around the rink. The moms just so excited in explaining to her daughter what shed planned, and her little girls response was is that all? Is that all were doing? Were just going ice-skating, nothing else? And this mom as she told me this story, you know there were tears in her eyes, and she was like, I was devastated.

Gregory Hansell
Yeah.

Kristen
Because it wasnt enough, and I think when we give our kids too much they have a very hard time seeing the difference between what they have, what they need, what they want, what they deserve. Yesterday I had lunch with a mom in my town who is an adoptive parent and she adopted a little girl out of foster care as a baby. And so shes had this little girl for three years and theyd just given her a totally new life, a beautiful life, and they had the opportunity to take these little girls siblings who were still in foster care, and still really struggling. They had the opportunity for them to spend the weekend together, and she said, we told all of the kids were going to take you to the park and she said the difference between her adoptive child, she said which park? And the kids who are still in foster care who dont have as much said, a park? We just want to go to park, we dont care which one. And I think, you know, its important that we hold back and not give our kids too much. Because when we do, we really change the way they see the world and how they receive from us.

Gregory Hansell
Yeah, I think thats exactly right. You know, Ive experienced myself, you know, I think you also tell the story in the book about Christmas time and when theres too many presents the kids just kind of tear through everything, and at the end of it theyre kind of just in a weird frenzy, that dont even know how to deal with all the things theyve opened. And I think from that kind of gluttony of riches, you know, what you get is a scenario that almost damages the kids. You know, they dont even have the ability to kind of appreciate every individual thing, let alone how it makes them foresee future things that they are given or not given. So I think its a powerful issue. So why do you think we parents do that for our kids? You know, what are some of the reasons that were giving these kids too much?

Kristen
Well I think, you know, Ill start off by saying I think our motives are pure. I dont think we set out to raise kids who are entitled, who are spoiled or ungrateful. And so I think our heart is good, and we want to lavish because we love, and so the motive, you know, overall the motive is pure. But that doesnt mean its right. And I think we end up starting out doing it because we love our kids and then they begin to expect it and then theyre several reasons we continue to do it. One of those are, one of those would be were afraid to say no because of the fallout. You know, weve set a precedence for giving our kids x, y, and z, so they expect it. So when we see, oh maybe this wasnt the wisest thing or maybe we cant afford it this month, or maybe we want to give the money to someone else, or whatever it is. And we want to change what weve already set a precedence for, then were afraid. And there have been many, many times that right before I told my kids no, I was scared, you know, I knew that there was going to be backlash and it was going. You know, and thats where it comes back to good parenting is hard parenting. You know, doing the best thing for our kids is often really hard for us, and its easier sometimes just to give in and give them their way because we dont want the battle, we dont want the argument. And so I think thats a huge reason why we continue to give our kids things that maybe they dont need, but they want. Because were afraid, honestly. Sometimes I think we feel guilty for our circumstances, maybe its a step family or a second marriage or there was a season we didnt have a job so now we do, or we grew up without things that we want our kids to have, or we feel bad that our kids are going to feel left out if they dont have what everyone else has. And so we let guilt govern our parenting decisions. I think, you know, convenience and being busy in our culture is a huge culprit. I know in our family with having kids in three different schools and a working mom and dad, and yeah were just so busy with life that sometimes its just easier not to think about oh or to give in, then to do things the right way, do things the harder way. I think another reason is we dont want our kids to fail. We want them to succeed. You know, I want my kids to ultimately be successful, but I think failure is the greatest teacher of success, that it teaches our kids grit and determination, and its good for them to fail. And its hard for us to watch, we feel helpless and we dont want our kids to struggle, but struggle is one of the greatest gifts we can give our kids because it teaches them endurance and tenacity. And it gives them a spirit of, you know, to fight and not give up. And, you know, one day a few weeks ago one of my teenagers, we were just having a heart to heart and my teenager asked me, and we have a rule in our house that you can ask whatever you want, you can say pretty much whatever you want as long as its respectful, we want this, our house to be a safe place where we talk about everything. Because I want to be a part of my kids lives and I want to know their struggles and what theyre going through. And my child said to me, why are you so hard on me? And, when I wanted to just offer excuses and say, oh Im not, oh last week I did this for you, but at the end of the day, I am hard on my kids and I just said, you know, Im hard on you because I want to prepare you for life, I dont know what life is going to bring you, I dont know what your future holds, I dont know if theres sickness or grief or pain or loss or hurt in your future, there probably will be, in one way or another, and if Ive made your life easier for you, then Ive rescued you and Ive bailed you out and I havent let you struggle, then I failed you. Because when life gets hard, the first reaction is youre going to want to quit, youre going to want to stop fighting. And so Im preparing you, because thats my job. And I think we have to make a conscious intentional decision to do this with our kids, because we are looking at the big picture, were looking down the road and our kids they dont have that gift of perspective yet, theyre looking at the here and now. And so of course we can do it lovingly, I dont think we have to be hard nosed or cruel by any stretch of the imagination. But if we say were not going to give you an allowance for not doing your chores, then we need to stick to our guns, we need to be consistent because that first job our kids get, theyre not going to be paid for something they havent done. And if we set the precedence and made it easy for them and just giving in, then we are failing them. And I think in order to prepare them to be good stewards of money and time and resources, and good employees and people who love others and who love God, then we have to begin that at home.

Gregory Hansell
Yeah, I think all of that is really profound, you know, I think you hear people say sometimes that so and so really loves their kids. I think that thats great that people love their kids, but Id like to think that is barely qualifying, you know, as a parent.

Kristen
Right.

Gregory Hansell
Its easy to love your kids, and its easy to give them what they want, cause they smile and theyre happy and it makes you feel great because you want to make them happy and you want to make them feel good. But, when it gets tough, you know, all the things you just said, when you have to keep things from them, when you have to let them fail, when you have to tell them, no you didnt do that exactly right, lets try that again. And it can hurt because you see them get disappointed, but look how they, look how they grow.

Kristen
Right, exactly.

Raymond Hansell
Well were going to take a short break right now. When we return well talk more with Kristen Welch, author of Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World. In the mean time if youre a fan of BetterWorldians Radio, please check out our game on Facebook called A Better World. A Better World encourages habits of goodness, positive mindsets, and giving to social causes to make a positive difference in the world. Players actually do things like express gratitude, share acts of kindness, doing good deeds, sending get well notes to real world sick children and more. And were excited to announce that our charity partner of the month, in this month, in March is the Integral Heart Foundation in Guatemala. Were challenging our players this month to complete two hundred and fifty thousand good deeds. When they do well release funds to supply the students at La Academia meals for an entire month. You can find out more and play at Facebook dot com slash A Better World. Well be right back.

Raymond Hansell
Youre listening to BetterWorldians Radio. Were speaking right now with Kristen Welch, author of Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World. Now lets welcome back Kristen and my co-host MarySue Hansell.

MarySue Hansell
Hi Kristen.

Kristen
Hello.

MarySue Hansell
That was really an interesting first segment. You know, what are some of your recommended steps for cultivating gratitude in kids? I see in your book that you referenced Doctor Robert Emmons, who was recently a guest on our show, he was fabulous and weve read all his books.

Kristen
Yes, I love his information and Im not an expert on gratitude, Im still figuring it out, so I love, I love reading and learning and I love what he has to say. And some of his ideas I elaborated on those in my book, but I think theyre just some very easy practical ways that we can begin to maybe turn that ship and begin to cultivate gratitude in our kids. Writing them down is a very simple, easy way to begin that process. We have a notebook at our kitchen table and dinner together is a big deal at our house, we try really hard not to let anything stop that time together. As my kids have gotten older, the pull of the world and activities and extracurricular sports and schedules put a demand on that time. So when youre all together, whatever time that may be, I think its great to pull out that notebook, and we just play a little game around the table as were eating and we all go around and share our highs and lows of the day. Its a great way to get to know your family and your kids and what their struggles are, and just get more in tune with what they are going through. But, we try to write down those highs, and then go back and look at that journal and that chronicle and I think thats a really easy way from very young to very old, we can write down those ideas. I think.

MarySue Hansell
Well thats really neat. So you say all the kids go around and say what theyre grateful for at dinnertime?

Kristen
Yes.

MarySue Hansell
Oh thats so nice. What are some of the things they say theyre grateful for?

Kristen
Oh my goodness. Well it varies depending on the day, but ends up usually being a very funny time because what one might say the other, you know, the other child will respond to, but as my kids have grown theyve really opened up during that time and its a good way to check in on, you know, theyll mention the high of the day is acing a math test. And so, you know, theyre caring about their studies and theyre figuring out that we care too and we want to be apart of whats going on in their life. And at the same time when we share our lows, that really becomes an area where, especially my husband and I, we know where to lift up our kids wherever theyre struggling.

MarySue Hansell
Well thats great. You know, after reading Doctor Emmons books here and speaking with we all started keeping gratitude journals and my husband Ray who you spoke to earlier also started writing gratitude letters to people. The one thing I was amazed at, not only cultivating gratitude in ourselves and kids, it also improves health benefits. You know, makes their moods better and things like that, so I think thats just a wonderful recommendation. So glad you read that book.

Kristen
Yes it was great. And one of the things I love the most about it was just being specific in your gratitude, you know, its so easy to say thank you. But I, especially as a mom, you know, my kids are learning gratitude by how I model it, and so thanking them, you know, their faces light up and its not just, thanks for cleaning up the dishes, its, thank you for seeing the need and you know Ive had a long day, and Im tired and I really appreciate you pitching in and doing more than you had to do. And you know, when we just elaborate on what were thankful for, it not only blesses us by being grateful, but it blesses the person who is receiving that praise and compliment. And so I love that he recommends that were specific in our gratitude. We take an extra step and let the people in our lives know that were thankful for them.

MarySue Hansell
Yeah, I thought that was a wonderful technique that he said to be specific. I learned, I personally learned that myself, because I dont think I was being as specific in my gratitude, so. Kristen, you know, I was really, really laughing at the cellphone contract that you had in your book. But then when I looked at it I said this is a fabulous idea, can you tell our listeners about, you know, what it is and how you wrote it and how your children reacted to it?

Kristen
Well, you know, technology is such a huge part of our culture and its a big issue for parents. When to introduce it and, excuse me, the effects of it, and how much is too much? So Im careful in what I write to parents, not to tell anyone a magic number, and I dont know what that is, I think its different for every family. For our family we set out a long time ago, before any of our children had phones, it was right after my husband and I started carrying cellphones, but we were going to go against the flow in this area, and we werent going to give our kids a phone just because everyone else had a phone. And so, we have been very slow and intentional in this, and Im very grateful that we have. Because once we allow a phone, and now its even hard to get a phone without the Internet, then social media becomes a problem or at least a lure for our children. And I think that, its very hard to go back once youve allowed it without ground is set when we allow it and we try to go back. So we are more cautious and our kids dont get a smartphone until they go into high school, and thats the rule that weve set up. So right now, only one of my kids has a phone. And you know what made that really special, it was the best, as a parent and for my daughter, giving her that phone right before she started high school, a week before she started school, was such a highlight. Because we had all been patient and waited and it was really a reward, we see that youre mature enough for this and it became a very positive thing in our life. But with that phone we also gave her a contract, that are just some guidelines, and thats in the back of the book. But its nothing profound, its just simple, but you know.

MarySue Hansell
Well I thought it made a lot of sense, especially the one about, you know, plugging it in downstairs by nine oclock, and I thought this way you avoid all that worry about what theyre doing at night with the phone and staying up and so forth.

Kristen
Right, and I had read an article about the lack of sleep that teenagers are getting because they sleep with their phone under their pillow and theyre getting text in the middle of the night, and not to mention the content thats online, you know, we have to filter everything. But just we need to be unplugged and sleep and so, and I still occasionally have to remind my daughter to plug in her phone or she will lose it and so its an ongoing consistent requirement of parents. Once you hand them that technology, its your responsibility to help them manage it, and you know, the Internet and social media and technology, its just an amazing tool, its changed our world and its made it better in so many ways, but its also a weapon and it can be destructive, and it can cause addictions and it can you know, theres so many cyber bullying and all the different issues that go on with technology. And so we have to be responsible when we give our kids that much power, and a lot of the times theyre not able to use self control or self discipline and so we have to help them. And Im a huge advocate of, yeah if youre going to give your child a phone, thats okay thats your choice, but be involved. Should they really have unlimited privacy on their phone? I dont think so, I think most parents are paying for the technology to begin with and so we have the right to protect our kids and be involved with what theyre looking at or being exposed to.

MarySue Hansell
You know, I really liked in your book where you talked about balancing discipline with grace. First of all, what are you calling grace so our listeners understand what youre referring to?

Kristen
Well I think, you know, grace is not getting what we deserve, its that second chance and that unrequited love that says, I love you enough to discipline you, but I love you enough to root for you and to believe in you. Im really good at the discipline part, the grace part is harder for me because I think, you know, my husband and I were just talking about this, this morning, in relationships in the struggles we have in marriage and in parenting often come because of our own expectations that we place on other people in our lives. So the expectations I put on my husband or the expectations I put on my children, and then when they dont meet those expectations Im frustrated and Im upset. And I think in parenting, its so important that we dont necessarily have to lower our expectations, but we do have to be flexible with them. And our kids are, you know, this home and this season of their lives, this is their learning ground, this is where theyre trying to figure out life and they dont have it all together, and they need us to be flexible with them, and we need to pick our battles. One of my teenagers is just more of a free spirit and very smart, very passionate, and very messy, and I have had to learn to pick my battle. Im more of a neat freak, and so we clash in that area, but at the end of the day, I would rather have a good relationship than a clean room. And so sometimes thats what I have to choose, I have to choose that relationship over my unrealistic expectations during finals that my child is going to do all of their chores and have a perfectly neat room when theyre stressed out. So I think we can really help ourselves and help our kids if were flexible with our expectations and sort of step back from that and offer some grace. I mean, how many times does God give us grace? Unlimited, He offers us unlimited grace and sometimes I think with our kids, you know, we counted to three and they havent done exactly what theyve said and we throw the book at them. So, some issues require that, and so Im not saying we shouldnt discipline our kids, but we need to offer grace in our discipline and let them know that no matter what they do, no matter what they say, no matter where they go, no matter how hard they fail, we will love them no matter what. We will be there for them, I think that speaks volumes to our kids.

MarySue Hansell
It does. And just to let you know its a lot easier to give grace when youre a grand mom like me.

Kristen
I hear that.

MarySue Hansell
Anyway, how does stressing the values of money and also hard work, work with making kids more grateful?

Kristen
Well, you know, I think in my family and I know that just in talking to other moms, its frustrating because a lot of times our kids dont understand the value of money. So when theyre constantly asking for something or every time you go to the grocery store they want something, its so frustrating because they dont understand budgets and how, where money comes from a lot of times, and you know, instead of saying no and not explaining it. I think its good to bring them into that conversation and we have a little economic system set up in our house and its basically a way for my kids to earn money for what they want. And we take care of their major needs, but if theres something that they want, then they save their money and they buy it themselves. And this has been so profound for us, it has taught them how to save money, its taught them not to buy junk, its taught them patience, its taught them, really that instant gratification doesnt pay off. And so, bringing our kids into money conversations is huge because it helps them understand how far money goes and being a part of that. Just this week we were at a friends house and the parents and I were talking about this, because they have very similar economic system in their home, and their kids actually use the money that they earn to sponsor their compassion child. And so the child are helping pay for this sponsorship of this child and when they dont work, and they dont do their chores, and they dont contribute, it not only effects them, but it could effect this sponsorship.

MarySue Hansell
Oh dear.

Kristen
I thought it was really, I though it was really wise because its showing our kids the power of money and how when we work hard and when we do what were asked to do and we do what we should do and we take care of our things, it not only helps us, but then we can use that money to help other people.

MarySue Hansell
Hey Kristen, do they find that by doing that theres less of an incidence of them not doing their chores?

Kristen
Yes, there was only one instance that, and I was talking to the eleven year old daughter and asking her how she felt about this and she said, there was only one time that she didnt do what she was supposed to do and did not receive any of the money. And she wasnt thinking about the child that it would effect in Africa, she was just thinking I dont want to do this today. And when she realized the effect that it would have, she went to her room and cried and was so upset, and asked her parents to take money out of her savings account that she had been saving for a special occasion, to make up the difference. And I thought it was just really powerful because, you know, we sponsor kids through compassion international with our family and their pictures hang on our refrigerator and its a wonderful way to teach our kids gratitude because it offers perspective. But I loved that when theyre actually responsible for being a part of sending money, I thought that was a really interesting.

MarySue Hansell
Yeah, very unique approach, I havent heard of that.

Kristen
Very unique approach I think its working for their family.

MarySue Hansell
And speaking of that, you talk about exposing your children to the world views, and how that helps them to be grateful. So I guess that goes along the same lines?

Kristen
Yeah, you know, honestly if I could have parents take away one thing from this segment, it would be this.

MarySue Hansell
Yeah.

Kristen
To me and my family the key to raising grateful kids is giving them a global perspective. And you dont have to be a globe trotter or you dont even necessarily have to leave your neighborhood to do this, but showing our children how other people live is the most powerful thing that we can give our kids. Because when we do that, were changing the way they see their own life.

MarySue Hansell
Exactly.

Kristen
When my youngest came home one day and she had been at a friends house and, you know, her head was hanging low and she was pouting and I said, okay whats wrong? Well I want what my friend has, and she named some new toy or gadget, and she had been with her friend and she compared what she had with what her friend had. And, you know, we dont have to teach our kids how to compare themselves to other kids, we dont have to teach ourselves how to do that either, thats a human instinct. We compare ourselves to other people, its our nature. But when I listened to my daughter talking about this, I said, well what about, and I named one of the compassion kids on our refrigerator, and I said what do you think about Evantis and what he has? And the minute I said his name, shes been at his home in Kenya and shes seen that his entire family lives in a house the size of her bedroom. The minute she thought of him, she said, he doesnt have as much as I have. And that perspective is exactly what we need to give our kids. That if youre going to compare yourself to kids with more, and thats a huge issue for our children, you know, it brings, its one of the reasons why parents give their kids too much, its because other people have it and our kids want it. So I told my daughter that day, if youre going to compare yourself with your friend that has more than you have, then you also have to compare yourself with people who have less. Because when we can teach our kids to do that, its put them in the middle, not one side or the other, and they can see a better perspective. And when they see someone with less than they have, gratitude is born. All of a sudden my daughter was like, well I have my own bed, and I have a closet full of clothes, and I have so much more than what he has. And of course she still wanted that gadget or toy, it was something she could begin to save for and work towards, but it was a gift for her to see that, yeah I dont have everything I want, but I have so much more than I need, and I can be grateful for that. And I think if we can shake up the perspective in our homes, and open up our windows, throw open our doors and show our kids how other people live, you know, it doesnt have to be overseas, if we have that opportunity, its great. But it can be, you know, the single mom at the end of the street who needs help cleaning up her yard, or the elderly family who, you know, that the husband had knee replacement surgery and we can take a meal to them, you know, anything we can do.

MarySue Hansell
Oh yes, theres so much poverty around, you dont have to go too far to show your children the difference.

Kristen
Exactly.

MarySue Hansell
So I think that was a great idea Kristen. Now how important do you think it is for parents to model gratitude? I really liked what you talked about in the book there.

Kristen
I think its, its key, you know, our kids are watching us and I read this very profound statement the other day that really brought this home for me and it was all about the millennials and kids who are leaving the church once they graduate from high school. And I think thats something most Christian parents are concerned about, you know, weve done everything we can and then once our kids go off to college, you know, what kind of decisions are they going to make. And what I loved about this article was it said that, research and talking to kids and that they had found that the number one reason children stayed in the Christian faith and they continued to pursue Christ wasnt based on church attendance, and it wasnt based on income or what we gave them, or what we didnt give them. It was solely based on watching their parents, on that relationship they saw at home between God and their parents.

MarySue Hansell
Sure.

Kristen
And I thought it was so important and profound that the example we set for our kids, the way that we interact with each other, the way that we love each other and serve each other, that is showing our kids who God is, that is what is leading them. Its all of these other things are important and good, but the way we live our lives, the way that we model gratitude, the way we treat the waiter at the restaurant who doesnt bring our bill on time, or the technician who messes up our car, or the way that we treat other people, our kids are watching that. Theyre taking notes, theyre learning from us, and one the best things we can give our kid, our children is our own grateful heart. And it will change them, and it will change the world.

MarySue Hansell
Youre so right. That leads me into our very last question. How do you hope that the lessons we have all learned in your book, Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World, can help make the world a better place?

Kristen
Well for me and my family, we wrote a family mission statement years and years ago, and it hangs in our home and that is that everything that we do as a family will glorify God, and I think thats the call, thats the mandate as believers that we live different than the world, we step into our culture thats fast and furiously flowing down stream, and we take one step at a time up stream, and we live out second Peter are we are aliens in this world, we are different. And being different draws people to Christ. And I think if we can do that, and we can not only raise grateful kids, but our families can lead others to Christ. And thats the greatest, the greatest mission and goal that we can have.

MarySue Hansell
Wonderful.

Raymond Hansell
Wonderful testament to what youre doing is to do that for that purpose and help in the process. Just let that flow and make it a better world for all of us. So our listeners can learn more about Kristen Welchs work by going to we are that family dot com. Kristen thank you so much for joining us today on BetterWorldians Radio.

Kristen
Thank you.

Raymond Hansell
Youre very, very welcome, its been a pleasure. And by the way if youre enjoying this episode of BetterWorldians Radio, please be sure to subscribe to our show on iTunes and give us a great review. Were always listening to your feedback, so let us know what you think. As we end our show each week we like to share our mission here at BetterWorldians. We strive to make the world a better place by encouraging the very best in everyone. We focus on positive thinking, positive values, and positive actions. In short, our vision is to bring out the BetterWorldian in everyone, so that we can all make it a better world. Until next time, be a BetterWorldian.