Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A hard lesson in gratefulness

Thursday night after parent/teacher conferences, I was super excited because Shane said we could go out to eat. {How I love doing that!} It was the start of spring break, and we wanted to do something special for the kids, since they had had such good reports from their teacher.

We told them what we were doing and were greeted with cheers. We hopped in the car....and it started. 

"I wanna go to _________", said one.

"No, I wanna go to ________", said another.

The third one completely disagreed and wanted to go to a different place than the other two.  Shane and I had already decided where we were going, so I said, "Boys, tonight we are going to _________" and named a spot where they generally love to eat--but was not one that any of them had chosen that night.  My declaration was met with grumbling and general complaints.

And then.....

.....a deep breath and a "we go there every time" was heard muttered under the breath of one of my precious little men. Ahem.

Shane and I looked at each other and made an immediate very difficult decision: to turn the car right back around and head home.

A chorus of what are we doing-s and why are we going back this way-s and the restaurant is the other way-s were heard, but we just kept on driving. 

"We are going home, boys."

Now, I'm not going to pretend this was easy or fun. It really stunk, to be honest. Neither Shane nor I was happy about how this played out, and both of us knew it. I didn't have anything prepared for dinner, since I had thought that we were going out to eat, and Shane was really looking forward to eating at the restaurant we had chosen. So had I, after thinking about going there practically all day!  But we stood our ground. 

When we got home, I managed to put together enough leftovers to make a meal (albeit a different meal for each one of us!) and we did our best to explain to the boys why we came home. Going out is a big deal for our family, and we want them to grow up with a heart that is grateful that we even get the opportunity to do that kind of thing--instead of complaining when the place is not their ideal choice.  It was not a fun discussion, but we got through it and, when all was said and done, we felt like the boys really did grasp at least a piece of what we were trying to say.

Fast forward to the next evening: Friday night. We had nothing going on, so we thought we would try again. We decided to head back to the same restaurant that we were planning on going the night before, and this time, we were met with cheers! *grin*

Mid-ride, we decided to go somewhere else, however--a place we don't normally go to because it is much further from our house than most restaurants are. Most of the time, Shane and I go there when we get a chance to go out alone, so the boys have only been once or twice. They remembered the place though, and were ecstatic to go there again!

We had an absolutely lovely dinner, and the boys declared it their very favorite ever. *grin*

Daddy and his boys

Mommy and Lolee girl

Then we switched!
Daddy and Lo

Mommy and my favorite boys in the whole wide world!

The boys were very, very well behaved and we had a great time--but the best part was that night. While Shane and I were showering, the boys sneaked off to the kitchen and each wrote us a letter.

Ethan's (with a bit of help from Colin)


And Colin's.
Slightly manipulative, since we hadn't had the ice cream yet, 
only told them we were going to--but sweet, anyway. *grin*
 (And clearly he isn't paying attention to something, somewhere, because his 
Momma is far from graceful most of the time. Maybe he was going for grateful?)

It was a very sweet, heartwarming moment; one of those times where you really feel like that the parenting lesson went well.  Like everything went according to how it was supposed to: Mommy and Daddy teach a hard lesson, kids get it immediately, and change their attitudes and responses appropriately {and they never had the issue again....ha! Yeah.....right!}. Those seem very, very few and far between in our house--most lessons are much more difficult to learn, it seems--but I was so thankful that this one went that way!


Aim said...

OH. MY. WORD! GREAT LESSON BUT I MUST SAY THIS. I probably would have counseled on the way to the original restaurant and told them they would take it and like it and be thankful for going anywhere because THIS momma would have grumbled and complained for having to go home and pull out left overs... yep. you are stronger than I. That or I would have put them to bed and gone out and grabbed some take out. ;) again. better than I. ;)

Amanda Hoyt said...

Wow! I agree with Aimee. I don't think I could have stood my ground. Ya'll are awesome. Love ya'll!

Amanda Hoyt said...

Wow! I agree with Aimee. I don't think I could have stood my ground. Ya'll are awesome. Love ya'll!

The Swenson Family :) said...

What was this 'far-away' restaurant? And also...the fact that you AND Shane were showering was not lost on me :) LOL