Children with an entitlement mentality will seldom (ever?) be pleased, grateful, or content. Unless they get what they want, and when they want it, they are bitter and complaining. Might the children of Israel be an example worth considering?
The Israelites were Egyptian slaves and had been in Egypt for 400 years. God sent Moses, the meekest man in the world, to lead them out. There were hardships as they traveled, but they should have said, “We are free. Thank You, Lord, for every breath of air You give us outside of Egypt. We are on our way to the promised land!” Instead with every hardship, they grumbled and complained.
How could your family learn from the Israelites? During family Bible time, read and discuss the exodus. Might there be other examples in Scripture that could be learned from as well?
Through this study, you can seek agreement in the family that:
1. We don’t want this mindset.
2. We agree to work on thanking and praising God for all that He provides.
3. Everyone (Dad and Mom too) is looking for bad and good examples in their lives and the lives of others with the eventual goal of sharing good and bad examples at the end of the day.
“How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me” (Numbers 14:27).
A brother wrote after last week’s Seriously asking, “How does one avoid or reverse an entitlement mentality in children?” Here is what I’m learning about this.
Always at the top of the list for discipling children is the double-edged sword of the parent’s example. Nothing will do more harm or more to reverse negative behavior/attitudes in the children than the parent’s harmful or beneficial example in daily life.
Deuteronomy 6:5 says, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” That describes the relationship of abiding in Christ (John 15). When we abide, we ask, and God answers. As God responds, we acknowledge, we praise, and we thank Him for Who He is and what He does. “I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psalm 34:1).
Does that describe us or at least the desire of our hearts and the direction we are headed? A grateful heart connects to a mouth overflowing with praise to our God for His blessings. That sort of heart also notices, appreciates, and verbally expresses all that is done around and for us. That is much different from the man who notices and complains about all that doesn’t fit his liking.
Our children are watching us! Which example are we?
To be continued.
Parents who love their children delight in blessing them. However, have you noticed how consistently doing the same kind thing for someone can (usually does) cause that blessing to become expected? Then if for some reason that blessing is not done, the blesser (you) is resented instead of appreciated. If that continues, over time bitterness is likely. Oh, how quickly the flesh develops an entitlement mentality.
Some symptoms your child is developing an entitlement mentality might be: ungratefulness, laziness, and resentment toward you. Real gratitude is deeper than him replying with a simple “thank you.” Observe how he responds when an expected blessing is not forthcoming, or you ask him to do an additional job?
“Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled” (Hebrews 12:15).
You find a church you want to try that lines up with the doctrine that God has impressed upon your heart. Then you begin attending. Be careful not to have the expectation of changing them. Expect to see weaknesses. Is there is a spirit of love for souls and the desire to grow in Christ?
In time, seek some private time with the Pastor to get to know his heart and where he believes God is leading the assembly.
A church family is vitally important and therefore justifies a great amount of prayer. Know where the Lord is leading and don’t just settle because it is convenient.
“Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47).
(A requested problem topic)
If you could choose between driving on a smooth road or a potholed-cankered one, which would you choose? Since smooth would be the expected answer, why do you think so many “homeschooling homes’” are so “chaotically-bumpy” when they could be “smooth?”
The natural tendency of the flesh is toward disorder, and it takes effort to make things orderly. Order enables getting things done (productivity) and teaches self control.
Smoothing the bumps is worthwhile. You get to choose—peace and productivity or unproductive chaos. Sounds like a great time for you to lead and take the first step in helping your wife. Managers of Their Homes is a tool that will be helpful. Remember you are responsible for the level of productivity and peace in your home. I plead with you my Brother, come alongside your wife and help her. Your wife and children will thank you. We can help you.
“… having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly” (Titus 1:6).
If you had to pick one of the two, would you prefer a proud son or one ignorant? I believe that most would naturally prefer proud. Why? Ignorant children embarrass parents. I’ve never met a parent who was happy his son was stupid and didn’t know very much. Yet, let our son win a competition, and we are strutting around with our chests stuck out and thrilled beyond measure.
I believe that scenario is indicative that we are a proud lot ourselves. We don’t want to be embarrassed by our children, and we take pride in their accomplishments. Brothers, if our children are proud, they get it from us.
When is the last time you deeply repented and grieved over your pride? Pride is what caused Satan’s downfall. He had so much, and that wasn’t enough. He wanted God’s glory too. How quick are we to take credit for what the Lord has done? We have nothing to take pride in. May we glory in the Lord Jesus and Him crucified.
“But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Galatians 6:14).
Lamech lived 775 years and begat sons and daughters. We can assume there were many children, and likely, Lamech initially cared for all of them. His firstborn son was Noah. “Noah was a just man, perfect in his generation’s. Noah walked with God” (Genesis 5:9). Sadly, we can assume that all of Noah’s brothers and sisters were wicked, perished in the flood, and will spend eternity in hell.
Tonight, at your evening meal, look closely upon each of your children. Which one (or more) would you be okay with knowing that child would spend eternity in destruction? I don’t believe any normal father would accept that possibility without doing all he could to prevent it.
How well are you raising your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord? How well does each child own the principle that every choice he makes carries with it a blessing or a curse? Is your deepest desire to love the Lord God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength?
Brothers, your life is being imprinted on theirs. Do you like what you are seeing? I understand that impression isn’t the end of the story, but it is the beginning.
“And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou fittest in thine house, and when thou wallets by the way, and when thou list down, and when thou rises up” (Deuteronomy 6:7).
I hate conflict and love unity. Is it possible you feel the same way? I will do whatever I can, without violating my conscience, to avoid strife and maintain unity.
Whenever there is a spark of conflict, I try to remind myself of the root cause of contention before things escalate. “Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom” (Proverbs 13:10). It takes two proud people for strife. Since I’m one of the two, I can immediately do something to quench the conflict – repent of my pride. Maybe not so easy, but it does work and is a good thing.
“A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honor shall uphold the humble in spirit” (Proverbs 29:23).
(A requested problem topic)
What might be a test of whether the average Christian believes in a literal hell with eternal suffering?
Likely each of us know people (family?) we deeply care for who don’t appear to have a saving relationship with Christ. If you saw them about to be severely, painfully, and permanently maimed, you would immediately do everything possible to help them.
Might our level of belief in a literal hell be measured by how much time we spend in prayer for them and our level of effort to reach them for Christ? It might come down to either we don’t love them or don’t believe in hell.
“For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains” (Deuteronomy 32:22).
“The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God” (Psalm 9:17).
A healthy food item’s packaging proclaimed that it didn’t have 125 artificial ingredients and preservatives. Might that be similar to a person touting on his job resume that he never embezzled.
What we do with our time is far more critical than what we aren’t doing with it. How much are you seeking and learning of Christ?
“And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:9-11).