“A Child is Never Too Young to Practice Gratitude”

When you’re in the trenches with toddlers, it’s hard to imagine that your hard work as a mother is going to pay off. I understand the mystery, stress, and fear of the future that may grip your heart. You want to be  good mom. No. You want to be a great mom. A godly mom. You want to raise awesome children who love you and make an impact on the world.

You will. You can. You’ve got what it takes. Few things in human nature are stronger than a mother’s love and inner grit to do right by her children.

But if you’re also looking for some practical tools for raising kids, you might want a copy of my new little booklet More than Potty Trained. It’s nothing fancy, printed locally. Only 44 pages, you can read it in an hour. But it outlines the strategies I used to train my children to be obedient toddlers. And it encourages you to apply to character training the same mindset you have used or will use in potty training: “I will stick with potty training until my child learns.”

You can learn more about the booklet here. Meanwhile, I will periodically post what my children – now aged 19-31 – all have say to about the way they were trained. For me, their words are my most important endorsement. Their lives, my most meaningful contribution to the world.

Sara, age 23

Besides maybe one doll or stuffed animal, I never really remember having a toy or game that was strictly mine. As a young child my games were also Kellye’s games, and Cynthia’s games, and Carrie’s games; my toys, their toys. Thus, sharing is all I’ve ever known how to do. My ability to share with others comes from the fact that I have been accustomed to sharing things my whole life. Most everything was “ours,” so no one was ever really possessive.

Sara as Toddler with Sibs

Sara’s in the center with the fuzzy hair.

I have continued to witness the ways this still holds true for my siblings and me even into our adult years. While we may no longer be sharing games or toys, we (at least the girls) can definitely be found sharing our clothes, shoes, and jewelry. And even though it may make me cringe to let my sister wear the cute new top I recently bought and have only worn once, I shrug my shoulders, suck it up, and ask, “What would Jesus do?”

Cynthia Coleman and Her Sisters

Sara, third from left, and the sisters she shares her clothes with!

I sincerely think that my parents taught us the importance of sharing through their desire to raise Christ-like children with thankful hearts. James 1:17 talks about how everything we have is truly a gift from God. Whether it be a new toy, a fulfilling job, or a talent, everything that I have is really not mine; it is His. I am thankful that my parents recognized that a child is never too young to practice gratitude, as this has helped shape me into who I am today: a girl striving to be generous in sharing her gifts, time, and talents, in an effort to be a little more like Jesus.

Wedding Me and Sara

Sara will receive her Master’s degree in education this December. She is now a full-time third grade teacher.

For details and ordering information for More than Potty Trained, click here.

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