On a rainy December Monday just before Christmas, I spent my “work hours” in the waiting room of a Honda dealership getting our infamous 2004 Odyssey fixed of all the recalls that had filled up our mailbox. And I told them to figure out what was wrong with our doors, change the oil, and give it a general inspection.
Needless to say, this was an all day process. Luckily my mom came to my rescue and we Christmas shopped and went out to lunch. Smack dab in the middle of my Panera Autumn Squash bread bowl, the service department called. All those recalls—airbags and starter switches—fixed free of charge. But they’d evaluated all our other… issues and those came with a $2500 price tag.
For a van they’d give us $500 on trade-in value.
We almost bought a new vehicle that afternoon. I had that moment of “this-is-ridiculous-and-it’s-not-safe” followed by the overwhelming truth: I really, really want a new van.
And I don’t want one because of the work this one needs (which we actually are getting done in stages for half the price at local mechanic shop). I want a new van for one primary reason—the recall I most want fixed, Honda won’t honor. The peeling paint.
That’s a cosmetic issue. Not a safety factor.
My friends joke how much they love our van—they always know it’s me! And while I truly don’t believe anyone who knows and loves us judges us, I still have to swallow a whole heaping mouthful of pride every Sunday I park in the lot beside much nicer and shinier and newer vehicles. At Ingles, I duck my head in shame and make sarcastic comments about Honda when the bag boys bring out my groceries. I beat others to the punch when giving directions to our house—just pull in the drive with the paint peeling van!
Clearly, I’m really, really bothered by this. And I could raise my voice and shake my fist and fight a fight with corporates who don’t care (because I’ve tried); I can rage against God how unfair it is I always manage to pick the lemon of the group; I could just throw down the tax return on a new paint job and be done. But I won’t get to go to the beach this year or make another dent in our debt.
Truth is, while we do need a new van, it’s not a dire need. We can drive this one (and we intend to for one more year while we save). I can be grateful that it gets us everywhere we need to go, and I’m not devastated when Gus pokes a hole in his Chic-fil-A cup full of Sprite on the way home. (Seriously, every single time.)
But I’m convinced I’m entitled to a new van because this one, to be honest, just makes me look bad. And I’m so tired of looking bad.
Then my daughter tells me she needs new jeans. Because she only has one pair of jeggings and she needs more. Oh, and her shirts aren’t cute and can she go to camp this summer and when is she getting a new bike?
But she doesn’t actually need any of this. Which is what I say.
And you don’t need a new van, whispers that still small voice. I know what you need and when you need it, and I promise I will provide.
Unless my pride gets in the way first.
This last month, I joined with over 300 other bloggers and people of influence to read and generate interest in Kristen Welch’s new book, Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World. To be honest, I had to walk away from it early on because of this:
Entitlement didn’t start with my kids. It began with me. I entitled them because I was entitled. (p. 10)
Truth is, I can’t raise my kids to be something I’m not and grateful probably isn’t the first word that comes to mind when people describe me.
I complain. A lot.
I gripe. A lot.
I want things. A LOT.
But I have everything I need.
What I love most about Kristen’s voice in this book is how real she gets. She relates their mistakes and failures along with their successes and she humbles herself over and over to say, she knows she’s not always getting it right–but she knows there’s a better way.
There’s a better way to raise our kids than to just give them the world. Because this world is temporary and it is not our home. This world is harsh and it is not forgiving. This world is broken and we are called to heal.
And gratefulness starts the same place as entitlement–in my home, with me.
So that’s my review and here’s my promise:
If you buy this book, Kristen’s not going to tell you how to fix your kids. She’s going to give you some words to ponder and apply to yourself first. Then, when you’re ready she’ll give you some practical advice that will help you raise grateful kids and your own grateful heart.
I promise you won’t feel the same after.
If you read it (you can get it here on Amazon of course!), drop me a line! I’ll be posting some more thoughts with #raisinggratefulkids on my Facebook page. I’d love to have you join in the convo there, a little mini-book club for the late winter blahs…
and the days when raising kids is hard, hard, hard!