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November • Parent Secrets

By Lauren Vonfeldt / Posted on 02 November 2014

Recently, my 7-year-old son declared that he was bored. Of all the kids in the world, he had no reason to be bored. God has been so good to him… to us. He has a big brother, two little sisters, and a great backyard. He has more toys he’s forgotten about than he plays with. We have tons of books, three video game systems, and more. I shake my head just thinking about it.

Not surprisingly, I was bothered by his boredom and determined to leverage it for a teachable moment. As I processed internally why my son might be bored, the situation got personal. Why do I get bored? The question itself, of course, implies that I get bored (I do) and indicts me for my irritation. If I get bored, why do I get so bothered when my son is bored? Ouch.

As I began vocalizing my observations to my son, I realized that I was really preaching to myself. “Buddy, I find that when I am bored, one of two things is true. I’ve either been selfish or ungrateful. I’ve either been putting myself first and not thinking of others, or I’ve not taken time to thank God and the people around me for all they’ve done. The truth is, God has been so good to us. We are so blessed . . . and we have an opportunity to bless others.” I needed to hear that at least as much as he did.

From that conversation came a challenge. “The next time you’re bored, I want you to stop and thank God for ten things. It can be anything. Just think of the good things in your life: Mom, Dad, your teacher, your small group leader, the soccer ball you’re playing with, the yard to play in, the weather that allows you to be outside, the birds flying over your head as you play, the ability to play sports at all, your toys, your favorite food— anything!”

A few days later, we had a chance to test it out. From the backseat of our minivan came the plea: “Dad, I’m bored.”

“Remember what we talked about, buddy?”

“Yeah.”

“Give it a try. See if it works.”

“Okay.”

Not a minute later, he and his brother were giggling together in the backseat…definitely un-bored.

Now I don’t know that the challenge that worked for our 7-year-old (and me) will work in your family, but I’m confident of the larger principle. On one hand, it’s a little counterintuitive. On the other hand, it makes total sense. Gratitude and unselfishness squash boredom.

This fall in all our churches (and a bunch of others—nearly 30 nationwide), we will join together to unleash waves of generosity in our communities and around the world through Be Rich, our annual giving and serving campaign. The name Be Rich is lifted from 1 Timothy 6:18, where the apostle Paul tells his protégé Timothy to “Command those who are rich in this world… to be rich in good deeds, to be generous and willing to share.” Now there’s a boredom-squashing challenge!

Through November’s KidStuf, we all have the opportunity to take Paul’s challenge personally, an opportunity to be rich as family. We are challenging every family to fill at least one shoebox with really fun and useful gifts. Through our partnership with Operation Christmas Child (OCC), those shoeboxes will go to children all over the world. We get a fun family activity, a chance to practice gratitude, and an opportunity to show God’s goodness to others. The children who receive our boxes get awesome gifts. Even better, they hear about God’s good gift to us all— Jesus.

God has been good to us. Very good. Gratitude, having a grateful attitude, is the only response that really makes sense. Then, when we give thanks to God for his goodness, we want to share that goodness with others. OCC gives us an opportunity to do just that. As parents, we just need to be ready. There’s a chance we need this at least as much as our kids.

So join us at KidStuf. Join us for Be Rich. Join us by participating in Operation Christmas Child. Join my family and thousands of others in squashing boredom, practicing unselfishness, being grateful for God’s goodness, and sharing that goodness it with others.

 

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KidStuf, KidStuf - Parent Secrets

 
 
 

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