More On Gratitude

Hey, if you have something to add to my Golden Keyboard/Opinion Saturday discussion, remember you have till Monday evening to submit. I am looking forward to your comments. Encouraging gratitude instead of griping truly is something that has always challenged me as a mom. Maybe it is partly my large numbers of kids. There are always younger ones coming up needing the same lesson that older ones have already ‘gotten’, so I am always looking for better ways to teach the same old things…

Something that has been a real mind-stretcher for my bigger kids is their travel outside the US. In 2000, my now 18 year old traveled to Korea with my to get our 6th child. In 2004, my now-16 year old went to Ethiopia with me to get our 7th. and in 2005, my 14 year old accompanied me to Ethiopia for our 8th child.

The Ethiopia trips, especially, were real eye openers. Some of the views from Ethiopia will doubtless be in their minds for the rest of their lives. Though some of it was difficult, I think it shaped my kids’ world view in an important way, one that I hope will help them live in a more balanced and thoughtful way as adults.

A global outlook…how young can you start fostering that in a child?


  1. You're doing it Mary! International adoptions and trips – then when they are old enough – mission trips.

  2. Also connecting with an organization like the Christmas Shoebox or the World Vision gift catalogue at Christmas time helps get them outside of their own wants.

  3. I love your challenge – it's something I struggle with almost every day too. I decided to weigh in over at my blog…

  4. We have friends that are missionaries. Letting the kids hear about what their life is like in a faraway land is one good way to foster a sense of global consciousness.

    Also, when current events come up, it's often good to remind oneself and our children that the people were are reading about are people just like us.

  5. I love that you took your kids with you and I agree that just by opening your hearts and your homes to international orphans teaches them more than we could probably imagine!!

    I would like to talk to you about adoptions cuz we are looking into it ourselves. How did you pick the country or was it something you always knew? And what agency did you go through?
    we would really like to know

  6. travelling is so good for kids. I hope my son wants to do mission trips when he is older.

  7. Your children are very lucky to have such an awesome mom! I'm sure those trips will forever shape who they are along with the generousity and kindness of their parents

  8. Yes, international travel is wonderful but so is traveling across class lines right in your own country, I still remember working in a soup kitchen when I was 15 on a mission trip in Mississippi. I hope to take my kids on Meals-on-Wheels runs this summer. Reading books like Little House in the Prairie or All of a Kind family help kids understand life in the US in 1880s and 1900s respectively. Both have helped my kids be grateful for all they have.

  9. I don't like to travel. Never have, really. My mom would save up all year, and dad learned to drive with a travel trailer behind the station wagon, and our vacations were in KOA campgrounds in 20 states by the time I was 16 years old.
    And what I remember is all the bickering with my sisters in the back seat, and losing my favorite hat out the rear window when I fell asleep, and how bad the food was in a restaurant somewhere in Iowa.

    On the other hand, we lived on a dead-end street with 18 houses. In at least 10 of those lived families who had left the "old country" and were working for a better life here.
    All the skin colors, spoken accents, the holiday customs, everybody's kids playing hide 'n seek until we couldn't see our feet and being in the same classrooms at school.
    And at church, the missionaries coming and setting up slides and talking about giving folks a Bible in their own language.
    One of my sisters has been on three continents, and crisscrosses this one a couple times a year by car or airplance.
    I don't like to travel, but I support with finances and prayers and cards the folks who do.
    Some of us need to stay put and be the homebase for those with moving feet.
    We didn't have the money to go on many trips when the sons were small, not that I made it a priority. When we did go, we took many pictures and made albums.
    They tell me mostly what they remember about being young is discussions about news in the paper and on tv and letters from the relatives.

    My own belief is the personality of the child will determine the choices. And sometimes when the grown-ups try to go against young instinct, the resentments build up.
    A very fine edge to balance, parenthood.

  10. Your kids have already seen more in their lives than I have. They probably have a better grasp on it then many adults these days. People just don't seem to care about others these days. I think you can teach your kids by doing it yourself. Put others first!!

  11. Our kids need to get a bigger picture, outside of just themselves. We promote this with our kids and with the kids in the church. An apostolic heart for the nations cause one day one of them if not all will be there. My son is 7 and has a heart for the country of Jordan and every night he talks about the visit he will one day make.