Raising Grateful Children

This is a conversation my wife and I have often. We want to provide the best for our kids but in doing so, do we create a sense of entitlement? Are we actually hurting them in the long run? 

My parents moved to the United States from India and worked very hard for everything they had. They provided what I needed but certainly not everything I wanted. They expected me to work equally as hard as they did and be a productive member of society. So I worked. I studied to get into the best school I could and then worked as hard as I could everyday since. I never thought life would be easy. I always knew it was up to me to achieve what I wanted and to never take for granted what I had earned. I also knew it was my obligation to give back as much as I could.

So now I have to decide how to instill this same work ethic and appreciation of what we have in my children. It is very hard. My wife tries to involve the children in her charity work but it’s still too removed for them to understand. We try to explain the way money works and that it (as my Dad used to say) “doesn’t grow on trees”, but they are too young to fully grasp this concept. If they need something they get it. Often if they want something, they get it as well. Their job is school and sadly that doesn’t pay enough for us to charge rent. 

So what do we do? How do we instill gratitude and an appreciation for their situation? One small thing my wife and I decided was to focus on experiences and time with people instead of material possessions. Another thing we try is to keep them aware of the current situations around the world but a lot of that is scary and too overwhelming to young children. So we try to show them what we can but we still need to do more. We need to ensure that they are kind, grateful, and productive members of society. That is our job as parents and I don’t want to fail. 

How do we do this? Really, any suggestions are appreciated. We need our kids to be better than us. We need the next generation of kids to fix the problems we can’t and they won’t if we as parents don’t instill in them the correct values. So please leave any helpful tips in the comment section and thanks in advance.