5 Ways to Cultivate a Heart of Contentment in Your Children
“But I wanted cheese pizza; not pepperoni!”
“Why does she get to do all the fun stuff? I never get to do anything!”
Do you hear phrases like this in your home? Is it obvious that your children are struggling with being content?
Here are some ways you can help to cultivate a heart of contentment in your children:
1. Teach them that all good things come from God.
If they are given the blessing of a fun family night with pizza, teach them that God gave it to them as a gift. When we recognize that the good things we have are gifts from God, we can learn to be grateful for them instead of wishing for more.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. (James 1:17)
2. Do not shelter them from the unpleasant realities of the world.
Most children really have no idea how privileged they are. When you tell them that children in Africa are starving, they really don't have a clue what you mean.
Don't be afraid to show them how people are living and explain to them that the meal they are eating is more than some children have had all day. Let them be involved in helping the needy and homeless people in your own community so they can truly get an idea of how good they have things.
3. Teach them that joy is a choice rather than a feeling.
Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. Philippians 4:4
We are not always going to feel happy about our circumstances. Yet we are told to rejoice always. There is no way to do that except by making a deliberate choice. (Don't worry; you'll have plenty of chances to model this choice because you don't always feel happy either, do you?)
4. Meditate on and talk about good things.
Right along with understanding that joy is a choice is meditating and speaking about good things.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8
If we are always focusing on the negative our children will learn to do the same. Instead, we must intentionally put our mind on good things even when things are not going our way.
5. Teach them and show them that we ought to put others first.
Children (okay, adults too!) tend to be envious when a friend gets something nice that they didn't.
Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Philippians 2:3-4
But we are commanded to put others first. If we are treating others with more importance than ourselves we can be genuinely happy for them rather than jealous of their blessing.
You may want to take a look at this study for children called A Content Heart. I just downloaded it and I know it is going to be great!
You can get the Junior version for younger kids or the youth version for kids that are a little older. (Or you can get a combo pack if you have multiple children of various ages.) Take a look here.
What are some other ways you can think of to help your children learn to be content?
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