Oh, Target. Your aisles are wondrous. You transform this grumpy, listless Mom into a happy, caffeinated woman. Your expert display of seasonal soaps and hand towels make me smile. My children beg to wander your aisles of toys and cheap plastic creations. They are not immune to your allure, and neither am I. The Holiday season looms right around the corner. And Target, I’m sorry to say this – but we might have to break up for a while.
When my children are constantly asking for yet another LOL Surprise Doll, I know it’s time for a gratitude check. There are several flashing warning signs when we’re approaching this burnout stage of consumerism:
- When they are ungrateful, whiny or just expecting new things weekly or daily.
- Their Christmas wish list is drafted and it’s a mile long.
- When we can’t leave a store without my shoulders feeling tight from tension.
I know it’s time for a Target detox.
And not just Target. It’s time for me to stop online cruising. I’m guilty of filling online shopping carts and just leaving them without purchasing. But I’m still ‘considering’ their contents and checking, re-checking for a sale. Do you do this too?
Although my ego would love to ignore the truth, the reality is I know my kids’ behavior is shaped by me. My discontentment, thoughtless complaints and pursuit of more has an impact. On any given day, they could overhear me say:
- “This bathroom really needs a remodel. I’m over this vanity!”
- “I wish we could build a screened-in porch for the backyard. I need a mosquito-free space.”
- “If we had a bigger kitchen I could host more people.”
I’ve been known to dramatically sigh after each of these statements. Just typing these words makes me cringe.
Little ears are listening. Even when my comments seem harmless, the heart behind them matters. If I am discontent in my day-to-day, my kids will believe that’s how life works. They will think that we can never be fully satisfied with what we have.
When we get caught up with a case of the “wants” here are a few steps I take:
- Limit trips to stores – especially (and unfortunately) Target!
- Declutter their bedrooms. They tend to always rediscover treasures to be thankful for.
- Research a volunteer or giving opportunity. I highly recommend partnering with Compassion International. Forming a relationship with a child on the other side of the world has been so eye-opening and fulfilling for our family. Another good resource for service and volunteer opportunities is Just Serve. This is a great spot to lookup local service opportunities in your area!
- Utilize this free a family gratitude list or simply name off blessings while chatting at the dinner table.
- Teach and speak about people who are less fortunate from a place of love.
Modeling gratitude for our kids is an intentional choice. And with the glitter of the Holidays, it’s even more important. Let’s teach our kids how to show up every day with a grateful heart, even if we’re secretly coveting something new and shiny ourselves. I’ve noticed that in my efforts to be a better parent, I become a better human. We all need these lessons in gratitude.
Here’s hoping your season is full of joy, generosity and peaceful Target trips,