Contentment Is Learning Gratitude

Ryan asks how to teach their kids to be grateful for what they have and not always have the latest, greatest thing. Rachel says humility is part of this lesson.

QUESTION: Ryan in New Orleans asks how to teach their kids to be grateful for what they have and not always have the latest, greatest thing. Rachel says humility is part of this lesson.

ANSWER: Dave: Rachel and I wrote a chapter on contentment in this book, which is kind of what you’re describing. How do you teach a kid to be content? It became my favorite chapter in the book, probably.

Rachel: I think part of contentment is learning gratitude, and you’re learning to be thankful for what you have. So out of that aspect is giving that we just talked about as well—when your kids can start to learn that there’s other people in need. They see other people, and they’re able to give to them. I think that creates a spirit of gratitude. But you can’t grateful unless you’re humble as well. So I think teaching your kids humility is part of contentment.

Dave: The humility is not humiliation like, “We’re poor people. We can’t afford that.” That’s humiliation. That’s not humility. Humility is that God owns this stuff, and we’re thankful to Him and your position in the universe—knowing that you’re not God—is a part of being humble. It’s just walking with that kid and saying, “This is who we are. This is where we are.” Just teach them the whole concept of humility, which leads to gratitude, which leads to contentment.

I think one of the most ugly character traits is a lack of gratitude. People who are ungrateful are ugly in a really deep way. Teaching your child something as simple as “please” and “thank you,” something as simple as helping Mom with some chores just because we love Mom—just simple things like that just scream gratefulness out of their soul, and if you can teach them that move of gratitude, it is a great antidote for envy and jealousy. It keeps them out of the house because envy and jealousy are a type of arrogance—a type of entitlement—that says, “I deserve that just because someone else has it.” Really, envy and jealousy are at the core of this whole wealth equality movement that’s out there. It’s because we’ve raised kids that aren’t grateful and that are entitled and now they’ve grown up to be liberals. That’s what happened.