Spoiled Kids Could Learn From These Kids

Growing up in a comfortable household where money isn't an issue and children always have new clothing and shoes, medical care, any food they want, and love and time with their parents, it can be hard to teach gratitude. Naturally we don't want our kids to be scared or think they might lose the things they have, but I would also like my children -- they of season passes to amusement parks, world class museum memberships, and apple/raspberry/blueberry picking every weekend -- to understand how lucky they are.

It's not an easy lesson to teach. But for one family in Massachusetts, the lesson started with a lemonade stand. Two boys, Jack and Eric Linari, 3 and 6, wanted to have a lemonade stand to buy more toys. But their father suggested they donate the money they earned instead.

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This dad is no grinch. He taught his boys an important lesson, and over time, their lemonade stand -- The Dedham Pirates -- has raised more and more money for various charities selling only their "pirate lemonade."

The kids have become "celebrities," recognized by the state and their town, but they're also learning a very valuable lesson. If you're a person to whom much is given -- health, plenty of money/toys, a loving family -- then you have a responsibility to give back and to help those who are less fortunate.

With my own two children, currently almost 5 and 3, this is a lesson I am searching for ways to teach. I don't want to deprive my children, but I also want them to know how lucky they are to live where they do and have access to all the things they do. One of my fears is that my children might take it all for granted.

The things in my life that I am most proud of aren't the things my father bought me, but the things I earned myself. I was very lucky to grow up in a family where money was never an issue, and I never appreciated it until I left it and had to make it on my own.

There must be a happy medium for children. There must be a way to teach them appreciation for the good fortune they were born into and also allow them to enjoy it and want to give back. I like this idea of starting them young, too.

People may have said the Linari brothers were too young for such a lesson, but clearly they weren't.

I had visions of my family serving soup kitchens on Thanksgiving and gathering supplies for families in need, but I had lost touch with them. Clearly this is something I need to revisit. Ungrateful children aren't fun to be around.

How do you teach your kids gratitude?

 

Image via EvinDC/Flickr

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