Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Books about Teaching Gratitude and Not Greed

It's that time of year again.  I'm sure that you've already started hearing it ramp up.  "Mom, I want X."
"Please, Mom, can I have Y?"  It drives me nuts.

Despite my best efforts to steer my children away from advertising that is designed to make them beg, they still do.  So I've decided to put on my big girl skirts and do my job.  That is parent my children and steer them away from greed without being confrontational and mean.

Thus I read them moral stories about gratitude for what they have and remind them when they are getting greedy.  Here are some books that you may consider reading to your child as we get closer to Thanksgiving, a time of gratitude, and attempt to navigate the Season of Giving.

Note: I'm not affiliated with Amazon.  I don't get a kickback.  It's just easier to link to their website.  Please feel free to look locally for used copies of these books or do what I do, borrow them from the library.

Just So Thankful- Little Critter series by Mercer Mayer
I really liked this book because Little Critter is surrounded by his family.  A new kid moves into the neighborhood and he has lots of money but his family isn't there.  When Little Critter is invited to a sleep over, he marvels at all the new kid has and is unsure his friend would want to come to his house.  His friend then sleeps over at Little Critter's house and shows that he enjoys spending time with Little Critter's family.  Puts people over stuff.

There's also another book in the series Being Thankful that discusses being thankful for what you have.  I haven't read that book, but the reviews are okay.  The most common complaint is that Little Critter calls his sister dumb and nothing happens as a result.

Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts
This book is about a poor kid who is obsessed with wanting the latest trendy shoes.  He manages to find a pair in a used store but they are too small.  Realizing that his gifted but- not- trendy shoes are adequate and fit him better, he ends up giving up his trendy shoes to a friend who has a smaller foot size and whose shoes are being held together by tape. 

Berenstain Bears Think of Those in Need by Stan and Jan Berenstain
This is an excellent book if you are trying to get your children to declutter.  It starts of with Mama Bear realizing that the family is overwhelmed with too many things in the house.  She has all the bears go through their belongings, weed out things they don't need, and sort them into piles.  Then the bears load up those items and donate them to three different organizations: 1) an older bear retirement home, 2) a children's hospital, and 3) a charity shop that helps other bears in need.

Berenstain Bears Get the Gimmies by Stan and Jan Berenstain
This has been something I've been discussing with the boys on and off every time I hear "I want. I want. Please can I have it."  My local library didn't have a copy so I had to interlibrary loan one.  We read it tonight and the boys were riveted.  It might have been that it was eye opening for them because of my impressions of the two bear cubs throwing fits about wanting things.  After I finished reading the story, HB said to me "Well, how do you get rid of the gimmies, Mom?"  So I told him the easiest thing to do is to simply stop asking for things and to appreciate what it is that you do have.

The book is basically about the cubs begging for things, whining, and throwing fits.  In the end, the grandparents suggest to the parents that the cubs can choose one thing before going into the store. If the cubs start up with the gimmies then they don't get their one thing.  We already do that in my house, but the point is to remind my children when they sound like they have a case of the gimmies.

The Berenstain's also wrote another book called Count their Blessings where the bears are whining and their parents remind them of what they do have instead of what they don't.  I haven't read the book, but reviewers remark that at the end the parents discuss what they are planning to give the cubs for Christmas, which seems contrary to the overall message.  But I'm sure if you want to skip that part of the book, you can.

So do you have any great children's books about cultivating gratitude and not greed?  I'm thinking there's a great Charlie and Lola book out there, but I can't remember the title. Please leave a comment below. 

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