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The Spoon You Have

My daughter has an annoying habit of switching spoons with her sister whenever you give her a meal. It's harmless really, so I let it go on. But it has turned into an almost mealy routine (is "mealy" a word? Every meal). Today, her sister was still sleeping so we ate breakfast together and she asked to switch spoons with me. I wouldn't let her, mostly because my spoon was too big for her mouth and I didn't want her little plastic one, but also because I think it could be the beginnings of a contentment problem.

Call me an extremist, but I guess I'm always thinking things are a bigger deal than they really are (just ask my wife). But the idea that whatever I give her is not enough tells me that this could be an issue later on. I know this because I have the same problem, struggling with contentment even in the best of circumstances.

"Use the spoon you have," I told her, to her dismay. She tried to talk me out of it, but I was resolute. Then she asked for a fork to eat her cereal, which I denied. Next, she started using her spoon upside down (or "upseedown" as they call it) to eat her cereal. I do applaud creative use of whatever you are given, so this was allowed. But the whole thing has me thinking about how to raise kids who are happy with what they have. That feels lofty even just writing it...



They often say things like, "I wish I was ______." Fill in the blank with whatever we are watching or near others doing: riding a horse, eating pizza, wearing a Disney princess dress. I always reply with, "Be happy where you are, doing what you're doing." Sometimes it is even more involved, delving into the realm of identity or personal effects: "I wish I was five years old," or "I wish I had curly hair." And I say, "Be happy at the age you are," or "God gave you straight hair, enjoy it." I guess we're fighting against human nature here, so maybe I shouldn't get so down about it. But really I think I just want to be proactive about instilling contentment in my children, because I don't want them to struggle with the same things I do.
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (James 4:1-3)

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