Cultivating Contentment with our Kids

Welcome to my "Month of Encouragement for Mom's" in January. Whether you're a mom or not, I pray that you'll stay a while and that you'll find something here to encourage your heart today.

I thought it would be fun to take what we talked about last week and go a little deeper with our kids. In today's economy and our "I-need-more-to-be-happy" culture, there is one character trait I think we always need to grow in (at least I do) and one we'd love to see developed in our kids - the character trait of CONTENTMENT. I wrote this little family devotion that can be adapted for varying kid's ages. There are a few options so you can do as much or little that fits your family's schedule and style:

means being happy with what you have or who you are.

Bible verse: Hebrews 13:5, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have."

Biblical character and story: Paul learned the secret to contentment. He had lived in wealth and in poverty. Paul had experienced the luxuries of a man with power and the miseries of a man being held prisoner. But he had learned to put his hope in God and not in his circumstances, knowing his circumstances could change at any moment. This decision brought contentment, which lead to a peace that was separate from his stuff. (Philippians 4:11-12)

A Nugget of Truth: In Philippians 4: 6-7, Paul tells us his secret: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (NLT)

Family discussion:
Paul's prescription for peace is: talking to God about everything, trusting God and a thankful heart that reminds us of all He has already done and can do.

Explain to your children the importance of contentment and share the danger of comparison and the trap of getting more. Maybe share a time when the more you got, the more you wanted.

We will never have every thing. There will always be someone who has more and something we just have to have more of. But we can learn to be content by being thankful for what we have! Talk about a time when you, or your children, were not content and how it led to anxiety. Remind each other that contentment is not getting what you want; it is wanting what you have. If your children are struggling with contentment after a barrage of gifts at Christmas or birthdays (like ours do), take time discuss these questions:

  • What did you get for Christmas or your birthday that you really wanted?
  • Do you still want it or do you think you’ll be happy if you get something else?
  • What are you going to do when you decide you want just one more thing?
  • List all of the things you have to be thankful for.

Family Activity

Idea 1 - Start a family gratitude journal.

  • Commit for one week to have each person list 3 things they are thankful for each day.
  • Continue your journal by listing things daily or weekly as a family. Encourage kids to vary what they list.
  • At dinner, have each person tell one thing they are thankful for about the person to their left.

Idea 2 - Commit to not buying anything you do not need for one week.

Idea 3- Start each day by practicing Paul’s prescription for contentment with your kids:

  • Tell God what you need.
  • Thank him for all he has done.
  • Thank him for all that you have.

FamilyPrayer: Lord, thank you for all that I have. Please help me want those things, instead of wanting more. Amen.

I'd love to hear your thoughts about learning and living contentment today. And if you have some things you experience - big or little - as a result this week, be sure to share it with us. Tomorrow I have a guest blogger stopping by to share with us how we can teach our kids a Biblical view of finances, stewardship and goals to grow up being financially free. I also have some Dave Ramsey books to give away.

Copyright 2009, Rene Swope - All rights reserved.


Today's Mom Give-Away

Last week's winners are posted below, under "Girl Talk". Today we are choosing winners from the comments and giving away two D6 mom resources - a copy of my "Mining for Gold in the Heart of Your Child Chart and Angela Thomas' best-seller "My Single Mom Life". (A great book for all moms, single or married. From mommy guilt, loneliness, healthy boundaries to living the amazing life God has for you and your kids, Angela covers it all. I am reading it and loving it!)

To be part of these give-aways, click on "comments" below. Please include your email so we can get in touch if you win and I'd love to know your city/state or country.

PS. Be sure to sign up soon for the D6Conference! Early registration ends February 2nd.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Renee, thank you for your post about contentment! My husband was just talking about this and we both agree that we need to work in this area! We decided yesterday to put all of our son's toys into different bins and only give hime one bin each day to play with. He received so many toys for his birthday and Christmas that he doesn't even know what to do with them all and has a really hard keeping them cleaned up. It is my hope that this new plan will help him to appreciate all that he has!
Pittsburgh, PA

Anonymous Susan Lanthrip said...

What a great topic. I have been trying to explain being thankful for what we have to my 3 year old. Thanks for the chance to win.

God bless you,
Montgomery, AL

Blogger cceeyore said...

I am very excited about this giveaway! I have had my eyes on "Mining for Gold in the Heart of a Child" for several months! Please oh please pick me!


Blogger KimAmburn said...

Great post! My kids have struggled with this since Christmas. This lesson is so timely for us. BTW, don't include me in the drawing as I've already ordered the chart off the P31 website.

Kingsport, TN

Blogger Stacey said...

thank you; great topic and needed reminding:)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love the devotional. Just what so many of us need. I know we do in my house. It is truly hard to accept our needs and slow our wants with the world we live in today.

Blogger Andrea said...

This is a trait that my husband and I have been trying to instill in our 2 boys. Not just because of the economic times, or because baby number 3 is on the way, but for them to learn that God wants so much more for them than material things we can buy! But we also realize that it has to start with my husband and I first.

Andrea in Peoria, AZ

Anonymous Margaret said...

You know that this is my weakness. Must you begin the week with this topic. I struggle with contentment in every area I think. I am not content with who I am (looks), I always want to decorate a room in my house,definitly more clothes, more time with my husband, more time with my children. So, with that being said I am LEARNING contentment with my children (16-20 years old)instead of teaching it. I think God is working on me a little harder right now though. I am hard headed so he has had to get serious with me,ha. It has been a very humbling experience.
Please don't misunderstand I am very thankful for all I have. We are very blessed and I know that. I just seem to keep asking for more blessings. Just being honest.
Great post.
Love you friend.

Blogger Robin said...

Thank you for the tips on Contentment. My girls, 6 and 4, want everything they see on TV and don't play with most of the toys they already have. I really need to work on contentment with them (and myself.

Anonymous Michelle said...

Renee, Praise God that he has given your site to me. I am new to your blog, but I know that God has guided me here. I struggle daily with doing the "right" thing in raising my two sons (ages 4 and 1). I constantly wonder how I can be super mom....teach them what they need to know, how to live, etc. Your messages last week really encourged me to not give up. Today's post in particular gives me a wonderful place to start....oh how I struggle with contentment. I feel as one of the other commenters does...I will be learning with my children rather than teaching them. Thank you so much for answering God's calling on your life and allowing him to use you.

Anonymous Miriam said...

Contentment in life covers so many areas from accepting our material gifts to accepting our children's and our own imperfections. Currently, I am struggling mightily with containing strong maternal instincts to have another child while (I know;it's crazy;I'm 40!!) my biological clock is frenetically ticking(learning to be patience and kind despite my husband's reluctance to add another child to our family). I need to trust that God has a perfect plan for our family size and structure--so often my emotions and will overflow with ungodly reactions regarding this desire. Pray for my willingness to submit to God's will, to trust Him, and to respect my husband's opinions as we seek answers to this struggle. Thank you for this challenging truth today.

Anonymous Michelle said...

I'm sorry...I just left a comment regarding my sons age 4 and 1 and forgot to leave my e-mail and state....I am from Alabama and my e-mail is

Blogger Sarah said...

19"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
Matthew 6:19-20
This is a scripture I often write on the chalkboard in our kitchen to remind us that "stuff is temporal, but the things of God are eternal.

Blogger Wendi said...

My how we struggle with this at our house. My husband always frets over money. He hates going to houses that are much bigger and nicer than ours. He really gets down that he can't provide that. Yet we have a nice house, one that lots of people would love to have. Stuff...

I know this has been lots of work for you, but I keep hoping that you will continue this. I have loved every minute of January with you. :)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great devotional. Need this one for my husband. We are definitely different when it comes to material things. He always wants the newest and latest thing. Really hard to teach the kids to be content when dad is always wanting something new. Funny I was just talking with oldest daughter 8 about making her save some of her allowance. I need to be better about talking about money with the kids. They are bombarded with so many commercials on TV they want everything!!


Blogger Casey S. said...

I love all the wonderful ideas. I can't wait to give this a try and also see who the guest will be tomorrow.
Have a great day.

Blogger Samina said...

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Contentment - such an important goal to strive for! I know we can help our kids (and ourselves) by talking about contentment, learning scripture, controlling what we spend/buy, however, I believe the only way to cultivate true contentment is through prayer. Discontent is a heart issue, and only God is able to change our hearts.

I love Jessica's idea about sorting the toys into different bins! I definitely want to try this with my own kids - thanks for the great idea!

Lubbock, TX

Blogger Samina said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Samina said...

I just started reading your blog - since I heard you speak at Girls Night Out in Houston!

I love this devotional - I will definitely need to go back and read through the others you have shared this month!

Oh how I long for contentment - in my own life, but for the lives of my husband and 5 year old daughter. Thank you again! :)

Will certainly keep coming back...I love you guys!


Blogger Thia said...

How wonderful to see this post on contentment. We are talking about this in our schooling this week, so it's perfect!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome! We'll definitely do this.

Roxboro, NC

Blogger Happymomof3 said...

I have been receiving the Proverbs 31 daily devotionals for about a year, but this is the first time I clicked on your link. Boy, do I wish I would have done that LONG ago! You have a real gift for sharing your passion for the Lord. I am super excited to check out your info on character traits as that is what we are working on with our 3 boys. Thank you so much for what you do! You are an inspiration and an asset to those of us who are working on our own relationship with the Lord and that of our families, too. Thanks again!
Holland, MI

Blogger Cathy said...

thanks for blogging on this subject!i want to work on myself modeling contentment to the kids. I plan to use your devotional with them sometime this week!
Mtn. grove, mo

Anonymous Heather said...

Thanks for today's post, real good info and at a much needed time not only for the children but for myself. Thanks again and God Bless you and what you are doing.

Heather in CT

Blogger Kristy Baca said...

Great ideas!! We will be using the Hebrews 13:5 for our memory verse this week!

Kristy Baca

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for your encouragement- I have a hard time explaining these traits to my 5 yr old, and this helps a lot! Thanks-
Teri Charlotte,NC

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trying again to win one of the mining charts. It seems like a great idea to encourage the kids!


Blogger Jennifer said...

Renee, thanks again for your wisdom that seems so timely for me right now. We are building a home and it has not been going well, the difference between what we thought we were getting and are actually getting keeps growing wider...ugh...thanks for the cahnce to win a tool that would greatly help out this homeschooling mom of 4 7 and under!

Jennifer, Grand Rapids, MI

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. God has been teaching me about contentment for a while now. We are not by any means a I want it and have to have it family, but still sometimes contentment is hard. Thanks for these great ideas on how to teach this to my children who are just entering the I want that stage.

Heather in NC

Blogger nazyouth4god said...

I really liked the idea of a gratitude journal. I am definitely going to start doing that. Once again thanks for sharing your heart and for the chance of winning in the give away.
Columbia, Missouri

Blogger Happy Four said...

This post about contentment really hit home with me. I love the challenge of only purchasing what we need for a full week. It looks easy on paper, but I know it won't be easy as we drive around and get the urge to buy a coffee or a magazine? Do we need those items...certainly not! However, we certainly need the Lord and time with Him don't we? Lord, help me to have a heart of contentment.

I appreciate your posts!


Blogger lisasmith said...

Always so good to be reminded to be content! I know that my kids mirror what I'm doing and saying...that'll keep you in line...huh?

At a time where so many people feel 'entitled', it's good to know that there are people like you out there still teaching contentment, gratefulness, and God's word. Thank you!
Elena Marshall
Lyme, New Hampshire

Anonymous Seeker said...

I am a sunday school teacher ages 2 to 8. We are a small church. I have from 4 to 7 children in my class. I find that your devotions and info are very helpful in my teaching of our young ones. My heart was so blessed when our Pastor talked to the children of the church about the Heifer Project and ask the children to take offering cans home and bring them back to help children in other countries that need help and food to eat.
One of the 5 year old boys went home and emptied his piggy bank into his offering can. He gave all he had. His amount came to 10 dollars of dimes, nickels, & quarters. He had no understanding about the amount, only that he wanted to help others. This piggy bank had been given to him when he was one year old and he enjoyed putting in the coins that his parents and others would give him.

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