Written by Kristen Welch of We are THAT Family
A note from Jamie: I’ve been touched by Kristen’s work for years, especially her thoughts on raising kids to be others-focused in our self-focused society. So when I heard she had a new book coming out on this topic (afflink), I couldn’t wait to invite her here to share with us today. Enjoy!
My little girl has always had a sweet tooth.
She used to bang the tray of her high chair for pureed fruit and pucker her lips at everything else offered.
Her eyes light up at slices of cake and pink donuts and cheesecake. Cupcakes may be her love language. And don’t even get me started on how often she asks for candy.
She is a picky eater, and dinner is always a battle because of course, she’s always hungry for dessert.
Maybe this sounds familiar. We joke about her insatiable appetite for sugar and constantly remind her to fill up on good food first.
The other day she had a light bulb moment, “Mom, when I eat something sweet, it tastes so good, but I’m usually still hungry afterward.”
Her epiphany made me think about raising our kids in a culture on a constant quest for satisfaction. I’ve watched my kids fill up on empty things — from social media cravings to the trendy, must-have fashion fads to the latest technology upgrades.
In our culture no matter how much we get, we always want more because we are really good at filling up our time and our lives with things that do not satisfy. Although these things may not all be bad, they leave us feeling empty instead of full.
As a matter of fact, it’s reported that after reading other people’s statuses on Facebook we’re more likely to feel down and depressed and generally worse about ourselves than before we read them. I know I’ve experienced this.
We are raising a tween and two teens in our house, and I have watched them go from one thing to another in their quest to be satisfied — from sports to musical instruments to hairstyles. I realize this is part of growing up, but our kids are looking to us as parents to lead them.
Over time, there are four points I come back to again and again–thoughts I hope will stick with my children over the long haul:
1. Nothing on this earth ever lasts.
Despite our striving and obtaining, we all leave this world with the same thing — nothing. The things of this world that are fun and feel good are only temporary.
Kids don’t always have the perspective of hindsight, so everything here and now feels like forever. They need us to gently remind them that the things of this world will never satisfy the hunger with which we are born.
2. We can’t hold on and let go at the same time.
Ask your kids to hold on to both your hands while also gripping the handlebars of their bikes. It’s impossible. We have to let go of one or the other.
From Jesus’s story in Matthew 19:22 we learn that the rich young man was “holding on tight to a lot of things, and he couldn’t bear to let go.”
We have to teach our kids we can’t truly hold on to what matters until we let go of this world.
3. We were created for a purpose–to love God and others.
If our only life goal is happiness, we are missing the point. We aren’t here so we can have it all or do it all. If that’s our aim we will live dissatisfied.
When we live out our purpose we find deep satisfaction, and we discover that our cravings for something real and sweet are satisfied as well.
4. Our hearts always point to our treasure.
If we made a list of the things we’re investing in or put them in a pie chart, what would it reveal about us?
Where we give our time, money, passion, and energy is where we are investing our hearts and lives.
Let’s work together as families to make sure that we dedicate our resources to treasures that will last all the way until eternity…and beyond.
Kristen’s new book, Raising World Changers in a Changing World: How One Family Discovered the Beauty of Sacrifice and the Joy of Giving (afflink), offers parents principles and tips to help us teach our kids to live open-handed, offering their gifts and lives to a world in need. Yes!
I love that her kids share their own perspectives at the end of each chapter as well! Check out a sample here.