When you have kids, you begin hearing the word "Mine" more often. I used the word "hearing" very intentionally, in that we as adults don't necessarily say the word as much as we think it. Nonetheless, my 2 children have not yet accessed the filter that tells a person, "I really don't want anyone to know how selfish I am!" We just blurt it out: "Hey! That's MINE!" As a parent, every time you hear those words echoing through your home, it's like a defeating punch in the gut. You're tempted to say things like, "Oh yeah! Who bought you those toys? That's right - I did. And I'll give 'em away if you're not gonna learn to share them!" Ever said anything like that? Those kinds of things come out of my mouth more times than I can count. So the question remains, how do you teach your kids to move their heart and mind from MINE to OURS?
One way that Morgan and I have determined to teach this in our home is simply by modeling this mentality and heartbeat. We try to intentionally show Libby and Nathan that every single thing we OWN, we don't really own - that everything we have is a gift from God that He's entrusted to us so that we can bless others with it. For example, this summer we hosted 2 soccer coaches -from the British Soccer Camp Nathan attended - into our home. They lived with us for 6 days. We loved it! Matt and Tom very quickly became part of the family. We told them, "Whatever we have, it's yours if you need it." They used our shower, slept in our guest room, ate our food, stayed up late talking and watching American TV with us - they even drank my Red Bull! I actually loved this because it affirmed to us that they felt the way we wanted them to feel - like they were at home! And we try to model this on a constant basis. Many of the kids on our street come in and out of our backyard like they own the place. We love it! We WANT them there. And for that to happen, you have to start caring less about your grass, your furniture, and your fence. (Sometimes, I even think the fence just needs to come down!)
We travel a lot as a family. When we do, knowing that my car may be sitting in the garage for 7-10 days, I would rather someone who needs it get some use out of it. So I try and loan my car to friends who may not have their own. Again, it's not MINE in the first place! The Lord blessed me with that car so I could be a blessing to others. And I trust and believe that my children are not only hearing what we're telling them, but that they're watching us live it out, and that eventually...it's all going to click. That's what I'm praying for!
If you're still struggling with ownership, I encourage you to read Matthew 5:19-21.
If you're feeling defeated as a parent - feel like you're continually teaching, but it's not sinking in - I encourage you to read Proverbs 22:6. And do NOT give up!
What steps have you taken in your life to move from MINE to OURS?