Livin a Grateful Life
At age 4, after one year of preschool, I decided it was time for Caden to attend summer camp. In June of 2015, Caden began summer camp at his school. Unlike the normal school year, Caden was required to bring his lunch to summer camp. This required me to go out and purchase a lunch bag for him. After careful consideration, I purchased a dinosaur lunch bag from Pottery Barn Kids along with a few lunch accessories. I brought the lunch bag home and gave it to Caden. He was sooooo excited! He said, “Mommy you bought this dinosaur lunch bag for me?”
My response matched his excitement, not just because he liked the lunch bag, I
was excited that he had something to do for the summer. The fact that I didn’t have to create a babysitting schedule with family and friends made me happy. I said, “Caden, mommy bought this lunch bag just for you so you can take it with you to camp everyday with your lunch. Caden was elated. He immediately wanted to pack his lunch bag even though it was Saturday and camp didn't start until Monday.
Monday came and Caden grabbed his brand new lunch bag that he was still excited about and he was on his way to summer camp. We got to the camp and Caden walked in with his new lunch bag and proceeded to show it off to everybody. Believe it or not this occurred every morning for the first week.
One day as Caden was getting ready to go to camp, I came in with the dinousaur lunch bag and explained to him what I had packed for lunch. As I waited to hear his response of gratitude because I had packed his favorite lunch and snack, Caden proceeded to tell me that he no longer wanted that dinosaur lunch bag rather, he wanted a red Lightning McQueen lunch bag like his friend Judah.
I said, "Excuse Me!"
Caden replied, "Mommy I don't want this dinosaur lunch bag anymore, I want a red lightning McQueen lunch bag like Judah". I said to Caden, "Caden, mommy worked really hard to get the money to buy you this brand new lunch bag and you're being ungrateful."
I continued by saying, “Caden, it's one thing if you didn't like the lunch bag when I first gave it to you, I would've simply exchange it. But, Caden you loved the dinousaur lunch bag. You showed it to everyone, every morning for the past few days which tells me that the only reason you don't want this lunch bag is because you are now comparing it to Judah's lunch bag."
I went on explaining to Caden the danger of comparing himself and his items to someone else and I explained as best I could to a 4 year old about the importance of being grateful for what you have.
I want you to know that Caden still looked at me after that long explanation and said "Mommy I don't want this lunch bag, I want a red one like Judah."
Now you have to understand that I am a West Indian mom and I have a different way of parenting. I turned to Caden and said "Fine! If you don't want this lunch bag then I'll take your things out of it."
I took his lunch out and placed it in a CVS plastic bag and handed it to him. I said to Caden, "If you don't want the lunch bag that's fine, but you're not getting a red lightning McQueen lunch bag like Judah, you can carry your lunch in this bag right here." Tears welled up in his eyes. I walked away and continued getting ready to leave. When I got done I turned to Caden and said "Caden grab your plastic bag with your lunch , I'm ready to leave."
Caden said "Mommy, I like my dinosaur lunch bag and I want to take it with me to school."
I took his stuff out the plastic bag, placed it in his lunch bag and handed it to him. He said "Mommy, thank you for buying me this lunch bag, I really like it!" Like Caden, many of us have made the mistake of comparing ourselves, our things, our blessings and even our favor to someone else. I am so grateful that God does not parent like me but he gives chance after chance to get it right instead of handing us a plastic bag full of regrets. This week, let us stive to not allow ourselves to be distracted with what is taking place in the lives of other people and not take for granted the things God has blessed us with. Let us learn to live a grateful life on purpose.