Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my problems or rather the lack thereof. It’s almost Thanksgiving here in the USA so I usually make it a point with my kiddos to teach gratitude. We’ve been dealing a lot with our daughter who really thinks the world revolves around her. The most recent debacle was because she wants to buy a computer now. Keep in mind we have two computers in our house and she, personally, owns an iPad and an iPod. Dad and I were just trying to probe her to think of wiser things she could spend her money on. We tried explaining how some other children live in the world. In the middle of this conversation she whiningly asked,”When are we going to the mall again?”If you have any ideas to teach her about the important things in life PLEASE comment!
Sunday, my pastor, Duane VanderKlok, said “If your car sleeps in its own house at night, you are rich.” (You can watch the sermon here if you’re interested.) I guess that just hit me. Some of the things that we take for granted here could change someone’s life elsewhere. Did you know that if your annual household income exceeds $10,000 you are wealthier than 84% of the world? And if it is over $50,000 you make more than 99% of the world! This is almost unfathomable to me.
So today when the kids got off the bus, out of curiosity, I asked them what the biggest problem in their life was today. Here’s their responses along with their ages:
- “Listening to directions from my teacher.” ~Kayla (6)
- “Cole S_______!” (A boy teasing her.) ~Alyssa (9)
- “I didn’t get to play reball as long as I wanted on my field trip.” ~Madison (12)
- “Other kids throwing snowballs at me this morning.” ~Sophia (6)
- “School.” ~Noah (6)
- “I left my snow pants on the bus.” ~Malachi (9)
- “I got hit in the eye playing dodge ball.” ~Elijah (10)
- “Getting woke up in the mornings and waiting in the cold for the bus.” ~Hailey (10)
- “Nothing. It was all easy.” ~Brayden (8)
I also asked my husband, Nick, who said, “Annoying people at work and working overtime but getting paid for straight time.” Then, I thought about mine. My biggest problem right now is how broken out my face is from this awful new makeup I ordered. Zits everywhere! I tried that Younique makeup and I hate it! I will be going back to Este Lauder as soon as my face heals. Ugh! I know, when put into perspective it all sounds so vein or simple. I found this incredible website that puts this into perspective. It’s called The Global Rich List. Just click that link and punch in your income and it will snap you back to reality really quick! I love this site.
Most people in the world have much bigger problems such as not having money. Most of the world lives on less than $1 a day! Can you even imagine that? A vast majority worry about finding water to drink and if it will kill them if they do drink it. Believe it or not, there are places where water doesn’t come out of the kitchen sink. There are actually 1.6 billion people in the world who have no idea what electricity is. Agriculture is an issue since half the population of all developing nations rely on farming for two meals a day and their livelihood. Could you imagine your survival depending on how well your garden does each day? HIV/AIDS and other diseases and lack of access to health care. Eleven million children die each year from preventable illnesses like malaria, the flu, phnemonia, or diarrhea. War is prevalent in many countries. Hunger since 870 million people have no food to eat. Child labor is very common among developing nations. Kids can’t go to school because they have to work to support their families to survive. Pollution is huge! We don’t see it but in a lot of places kids literally dig through trash dumps to find anything valuable so that they can trade it for food. Hmmmm where does our trash go?
I think about questions like this all the time and I also teach my children about real world issues. I read a lot so I am always learning about these things but I also absolutely love documentaries. I have a list of suggestions for parents to show to your kids to make them think. I also have a list that’s relevant to this article specifically. I will include those at the bottom of the page. Most of these are right on Netflix or You Tube. I have only included those that I have personally watched. Depending on the age of your children you may have to show them bits and pieces since we all know how kids attention spans are. Also, you’ll want to view it first to make sure it’s appropriate for your child. I am constantly using documentaries to open my kid’s eyes to things they wouldn’t otherwise think about. It helps them to be empathetic and to also express gratitude for everyday things like the dinner you just spent an hour preparing, mom. It’s so nice to hear “Thank you, mommy.” isn’t it? I’m definitely not bragging but my kids say thank you all the time and it does make me very proud.
So as you’re sitting in your comfy spot reading this on your phone or iPad, I ask you- what was your biggest problem today? Take a minute to think about all of the things you are thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving!
Documentaries About Real World Problems:
Documentaries to Inspire Your Kids to Think Outside Themselves: