My Kids' Silver Lining

an outdoor path surrounded by lush greenery and trees
Adjusting to a new lifestyle isn't always easy...even when changes are necessary.

This is the story of a silver lining that developed out of a somewhat hard transition in life.

 A cute golden retriever surrounded by plants
A few years ago, my children and I moved.  We were lucky.  We still were able to live near extended family.  We were lucky.  We were able to find a safe neighborhood to reside in that was located near a desirable new school.  We were lucky.  We had a roof over our heads.  We were lucky.  We had each other.  We were lucky.

Our move consisted of downsizing into a small rental that was 1/3 the size of our previous residence.   In addition to smaller living quarters, our backyard was a thing of the past...since we no longer had one.  Our neighbor's dwellings were so close that we could nearly touch them when reaching outside the window.  But we were safe and we were together, so we were lucky.

And...we were finally able to get Bentley, our new puppy!  The kids, Bentley, and I found four neighborhood parks within walking distance from our new residence.  So we had exercise, fresh air, and a playful pup.  We were lucky.

And since there weren't any backyards to hide out in, all the neighborhood kids found each other in the open areas of our new neighborhood.  So my kids made new friends, and learned how to ride bikes too.  We had laughter, and we were lucky.

And here's the silver lining....Gratitude.  It was the gift of gratitude that somehow came out of a maturing new family unit.   And money was the driving force in this formation.

For even though we were lucky, we had a new restricted budget.  That's where discipline came in.  Gone were the days of careless spending, and buying too much of everything!  Hello were the days of responsibility knocking at our door.

An avocado, string cheese, two oranges, two eggs, and two water bottles, symbolozing gratitude
First task was to look at the budget.  A LOT of our money went to groceries each month.  I wondered if it was it really necessary to spend that much money each month.  Only one way to find out...spend less!  So that is what we did.

We rarely ate out, since that activity ate up a chunk of our money, (no pun intended), and it wasn't very healthy either.

We also adjusted how often we would grocery shop.  Instead of shopping every week, we shopped every other week, (and picked up produce in between).  On the weeks we didn't shop, the refrigerator was speeding it's way to empty!  And I'm not kidding, but we NEVER went without food.  My kiddos were healthy and growing, and their needs were ALWAYS met when it came to eating! 

So what happened as a result of grocery shopping less?  Nothing!  Nothing bad, that is.  Actually something good happened.  That silver lining appeared.

~~~~~~~~~~silver lining~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Silver lining = gratitude!  My kids became supportive as a result of adjusting to their new grocery budget.  They never threw a fit or had a meltdown over wanting a fully stocked fridge.  They never made me feel bad for not cooking large meals every night, and they never had an entitled attitude when it came to having a fully stocked kitchen.  They accepted the way things were, knew they would be fed, and appreciated the food that was available to them.  Gratitude.  The silver lining that formed was gratitude.

In a world filled with instant gratification, gratitude is one priceless gift.

My kids aren't perfect, and neither am I.  Yes, they ask for toys, video games, outings, and fast food, just like other kids do...and yes, there are times, I cave and buy the game or the french fries.  It's a learning process, and it isn't always easy.  But in my opinion, it's all about balance.

One of the greatest gifts my mother gave to my siblings and I growing up, was not to be materialistic, but to live a humble life, and to be happy with what you have.  Thank you mom.  I can only hope to pass along this very precious gift to my kids as well.  Thank you kids for giving me the opportunity to be your mom.

I am grateful for moving, a safe neighborhood, a new school, Bentley, four parks, fresh air, riding bikes, new neighborhood friends, laughter, restricted budgets, grocery shopping, large meals, stocked kitchens, small meals, empty fridges, silver linings, grateful kids, my mom, and a humble life.

Yes, we are lucky.  Gratitude.

*To help children learn the concept of gratitude and appreciation, check out these resources...Gratitude Packet and Gratitude Task Cards.

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