Lesson on Contentment: Learning to say No to ourselves

Monday, April 21, 2014

I had a long conversation with my five years old this morning regarding setting limit to ourselves.

So far Max already learned that we can't just get/ buy him anything he wants. We have to consider if it's necessary, good quality, reasonable size, not too expensive, and so on. He knows that sometimes in order to get something he has to earn enough chores money or reading points, or wait until his birthday or Christmas.

Last weekend, I brought the boys to the Toy Store to get a birthday present for a friend. There, Max saw a good quality dinosaur that he really really want.
So he started asking:
"Mama, can I have it for my birthday present?"
"Can I have it if I read 50 books?"
"Can I buy with my money?"

I don't mind buying things for my kids but in this particular case; I don't think he need another dinosaur toy.

So I told him, "No. I don't think you need another dinosaur. You have a lot already."

with tears in his eyes, he replied, "But I don't have that one with horns yet."

I paused.... I knew exactly how he feels. I remembered feeling way that when I was 9 years old asking my mom to get me a new pencil case. She said, "No." I was so angry at her that night. I didn't understand why. After all it's not that expensive and I don't ask for something often. It doesn't matter now but it was a big deal for me then.

So now that is my turn, I want my kid to understand why I said no.

I explained, "Max do you remember learning about three basic human needs: place to live, clothes to wear, and food to eat?"

Max: Yes.

Me: Those are the things that we need in order to live. The rest are not that important. Papa works hard so that we can pay for our home, food, and clothes. Also, God told us to give to others in need. Remember when you gave your money to the needy children? What happens if mama keep on saying "Yes" to everything you want? then we can't give more to others who could use the money for their basic needs.
What if for example Papa told us he wants a new car while our cars are still working fine. Is it okay?

Max: but Papa doesn't want a new car

Me: Let's pretend if he does

Max: then we will have too many cars and no place for it.

Me: Exactly! And new car cost a lot of money. Sometimes, we have to say no to ourselves so that we can say yes to others. So now do you understand why mama say No?

Max: Yes.

Me: So can you just pretend that one of your dinosaurs has horns?

Max: Okay.

Then we close our conversation with prayer for God to teach us to be content and generous with what He has given to us.

Someone said, "while we teach, we learn." It's so very true. As I shared the lesson with him, God used this as a reminder for me walk the talk: to live simply so others may simply live.



  1. I love this blog post, Kiki. The last quote is so beautiful, it is a nice reminder for me too. :)