Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Having KIds Who Still Love The Little Things

The other night my wife Jackie and I attended a AAA baseball game here in Austin. If you're not that familiar with the structure of baseball, AAA is the level just below the major leagues, in our case the Texas Rangers. Nonetheless, it's a fun night at a very nice ballpark but you won't see many current stars at a game like this unless they are trying to come back from an injury.

Anyhow, we were sitting down the third base line in the 4th row and there was a young boy, maybe 10 or 11, there with his grandpa. He had his baseball glove with him and like most young boys hoped he would catch a foul ball. However, in these games the players coming off the field will often throw the ball they caught and ended the inning with to one of the kids in the stands.

Every inning this young man called out to the players hoping a ball would come his way. But every inning he was disappointed . . . until the 8th inning when one of the players saw him and threw his ball right into the kid's glove. You should have seen his face. You would have thought this was the best day of his life. And maybe it was. It doesn't matter.

What struck me was how special that ball was to him. It was no big deal, really. These weren't major league players, at least not yet, and of course the ball wasn't signed. It probably only cost a few dollars to the team. But it was gold to that young man.

And I found myself thinking how few kids, at least in our middle to upper class neighborhoods have learned the joy of getting something as simple as a baseball. When so many young people get hundreds of dollars spent on them every Christmas, birthday and new school year, and they have entitled access to the best of computers, iPads and video games, why would something so insignificant as a ball matter?

So how do we teach our kids to appreciate the little things and to be thankful for what they have?  First, don't give them so much. That sounds pretty easy and it is, but our kids need to live in a world of enough not more if they are going to learn the value of things. Cut back on how much they have, let them work a little more for at least part of some of the bigger purchases and help them practice living with only two or three of something instead of ten.

Second, expose them to other cultures and settings where people don't have much at all. Those places may be across town or the ocean but we will open the eyes of our kids to situations they didn't know existed where people live every day wishing for one new piece of clothing or just enough to eat.

Third, give them opportunities to serve others. Start early modeling that real life is found more in giving and serving than getting and taking. Help them find ways to give some of their stuff away and experience the joy of watching someone else smile like I saw that young man smile at the game.

Is it any wonder that we live in a country where entitlements are such a big deal?  Maybe we can help our kids to learn in the next decade or two that true life is found more in what we give than what we have.
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

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