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Attitudes and Gratitude

So world changers, listen up…my family and I were at the kitchen table eating dinner last week. Now world changers, let me tell you, I am no slack in the kitchen. Not only do I cook, I cook at least 2 times a day for my family. Not only do I cook a few times a day, I also enjoy making what I can from scratch. We live without a microwave, so everything that is prepared either hits the stove or the oven.

Why do I do it??? Well, because it is a great outlet and it gives me the satisfaction to know what goes into their meals. You would think since I buy the food, prepare the food and cook the food that my sugars would agree they should clean up after the meal they enjoyed, right? WRONG! These people give me the shifty eye when my hubby and I ask them to clean the table or wash the dishes. And not just the shifty eye, like the, “you are imposing on my day shifty eye.” Incredible, right?

Finally, I had to turn the tables world changers. I mean, really turn the tables on these folks! I explained to them, “since you don’t want to cook, or clean, or make money to shop for groceries, tomorrow when I make dinner, I will provide you a plate with air.” Of course they appealed, tried to reason, made all kinds of great points about how they would be more than happy to “clean up.” These pleas lasted through bedtime.

The following day, they made a sketchy attempt to clean up after mealtime. At that point, I had to seriously ask myself…”Am I raising ungrateful kids? Where did I go wrong? And what can I do to fix this, ASAP!!!???”

Now world changers, I am not naïve by any means. I understand that my sugars did not ask to be in this world. It is honestly my pleasure caring for them. It is truly one of the greatest gifts bestowed upon me. I truly believe that many parents aspire to enhance the quality of life, care or experiences in some way, shape, form or fashion. My childhood experiences are completely different from theirs. However, even with these differences, I thought along the way that we were cultivating an atmosphere of appreciation and gratitude, right? Wrong! Based on their bickering and kick-back, it was clear, appreciation and gratitude were not on the forefront’s of their minds. Smh.

So, I started reflecting…I mean really analyzing the situation. I started picking this situation apart. Observing. Playing detective. I was a step away from pulling out a tweed coat and a magnifying glass. Inspector Cherina was on the job!

This is what I found y’all…our sugars may appear ungrateful, but I truly think they lack understanding from our perspective. They have no idea what we had to fight for or against, the hurdles we had to climb, the choices and sacrifices we had to make to provide the luxuries and securities that are their norm. And world changers, I am not just talking finances…I am talking breaking cycles of generational curses, or doing different than mom and dad, or fighting to stay in a healthy marriage, or making that career shift to pursue your passion. You know why they have no idea??? They have not lived long enough to experience the grind, grit and sacrifice required to make life work. And to be honest, they will not know or understand until they have to climb some ladder, make some choices and sacrifice some things.

Think about it world changers…we did not understand that parenting was a full-time job until our sugars came on the scene. Or even before that…we did not know that light and phone bills come every 30 days. That in and of itself is a learning curve. Shoot, keeping the house clean on a regular basis is a learning curve for some…

Another thing I found out is that our sugars only know what we teach them. Now world changers, I take my sugars to the grocery store regularly. Why? Because they need to learn how to shop to create a balanced meal. They also need to see how much food cost. This will later help them determine how much money they will need in order to feed themselves in the future. And…this is my favorite part…when they try to put stuff in the cart that I did not plan on buying, I tell them to look at the cost and tell me if they want to pay for it out of their own money. It cracks me up to see them leveraging if the purchase is now “worth it.” When it is from my account, it is totally worth it. When it is from their account, they become misers.

Finally world changers, I learned that my sugars need honesty based on their age and level of understanding. It is perfectly fair to express to your sugars the sacrifices and choices that you make on their behalf. My hubby and I have ongoing conversations that are geared towards character building and purpose. We want our sugars to keep these things on the forefront of their mind, therefore, when they are being completely ungrateful, we can tell them from a real place why their response is not appropriate while reinforcing our expectations. If I allow my sugars to have one-sided, selfish, narcissistic, self-seeking behavior than it eventually becomes a part of their character. My hubby and I are against that type of behavior, so we make these moments a teachable moment without losing our cool (most of the time).

Now world changers, learn and laugh from my experience…but also take it to heart. We cannot continue to wonder why this generation of sugars are so ungrateful if we are not taking the time to explain or express our expectations. We also have to debunk their myths that mommy and daddy are superhero’s who love expending all of our energy, resources, and time without any reciprocity. That is not realistic. And it is frankly not fair to the rest of the world when you release your sugar into the world with those expectations.

So, world changers, you know how I roll. There is no way that I am going to spend time telling you about my journey dealing with ungrateful behavior without some tips or tools…

1. It is never to early to start assigning chores. This can be as simple as sorting laundry. World changers, let me tell you, if little toddler sugar know their colors, they know how to sort laundry. They can start that early.

2. Pay allowance for chores. This goes back to my point about the grocery store cart additions. If your sugar has an early understanding for the value of a dollar, than they will be less willing to pilfer them off.

3. Teach the difference between a want and a need. We need food, clothes, and a home. We want toys, video games, eye-level treats in the grocery store lines, and infomercial enticers.

4. Teach gratitude by displaying gratitude. A good friend of mine would always say to her sugars, “no one is obligated to be nice to you or to do nice things for you.” This is so true. I use her statement so much that my sugars think its my trademark.

5. Be willing to correct attitudes and perceptions. This will be ongoing. Again, you have to be willing to put in the work to have this ongoing conversation of having an attitude of gratitude.

6. Be willing to take things away. What good is going through all this trouble if your sugar does not change. Think about it, we get reprimanded as adults for our actions. You sugar should also experience consequences when continuing to display an ungrateful attitude. I have no problem taking everything away from my sugars to reinforce the idea the difference between a want and a need.

Now world changers, I am not seeking perfection here. However, I am thinking that our sugars can start hearing the message that attitudes without gratitude is no bueno. The more we take the time to cultivate this culture, the more our sugars will adapt. Certainly, there are things our sugars will not understand until they face the experience head on; however, we can teach this lesson on their level. I truly believe we can do this. I truly believe that as a community, we can shift the trajectory of this behavior. And honestly, if they don’t in my house, they may go a night or two without a meal…or even better, I may let them cut loose in the kitchen to see what they come up with, lol. I’ll keep you posted world changers.

Until the next time, Take Care, C.

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