RAISING CAPABLE AND GRATEFUL KIDS
We have 5 children -- ages ranging from 7 years old to 10 months old.
We bought a new home on 5 little acres this past Spring. We have 30+ chickens, two goats, 2 dogs, and are preparing our property to expand even more this coming Spring. We are teaching ourselves the ways of homesteading and my husband and I both work full time jobs.
All of these are the things we spent years dreaming about in the beginning of our relationship. We are quite literally living the dream right now.
And yet, somehow there's more responsibilities than we originally expected during the dreaming process. Go figure.
Laundry, dishes, and cleaning toilets are usually the last thing on our list of priorities. Yours too, am I right??
We have been immensely blessed. We started our marriage with both of us still in school and living in a little 2-bedroom rent house with a single ancient gas heater and floors that were so warped you could race hot wheels down their slope.
But even in that season, we were grateful. We took care of the things God had blessed us with. We left that house better than when we found it.
Now we try to instill the same sense of gratitude and responsibility within our children.
We focus heavily on raising our kids to be capable. We help them realize they can do hard things. They have age-appropriate responsibilities. We take good care of the many many things God has blessed our family with.
Our kids are not the picture of perfect gratitude, nor can they claim the title of "Super Responsible Girl". They still require constant reminders and they still push back when we ask them to do something.
But I would like to think the values we are instilling in them now will eventually stick and they will grow up to be grateful and responsible adults someday.
So, here are a few things we are intentional about in our home:
1. The Cloyds take care of the things God gave us
I feel like I need to tattoo this phrase on my forehead since I say it so much. But it's true! If we are not taking care of the smallest of things God has blessed us with -- the shoes to match every outfit, the cowboy boots in your favorite color, the dozens of fuzzy blankets, Alexa and her matching nightlight, the many colored felt-tip pens that make journaling so satisfying -- then why would God ever give us the means to have more?
And this doesn't just apply to the materialistic things... If we're not taking care of our marriages, our friendships, our home, our bodies, and our animals, then why should God give us more?
"To whom much is given, much is required." - Luke 12:48
For us, this oftentimes looks like me saying, "Okay kids, let's take care of the things God gave us. Please go put your toys away."
Then, we work together to tidy the house. There's not usually any fighting us on this request, although a few of our kiddos do need lots and lots of reminders, as do most 3-7 year olds.
Our kids know that if I repeatedly have to ask them to take care of something, then it must not be very important to them. So I will bag it up and take it to donate.
2. The Cloyds are good stewards of our money
I'm not a financial expert, nor have I been perfect in managing money in the past. But for the most part, I HAVE been intentional.
In 2019, my husband and I were convicted in our spending. We had racked up several small debts (cell phone payments, medical bills, etc.), we had several thousand in student loans, and we had also gotten upside down with a credit card.
You can read more about our debt repayment journey here.
It wasn't a lot by the world's standards -- pretty average, actually. But by God's standards, we were definitely indulging the desires of our flesh a little too much.
In July of that year, we made a budget and unlearned all of the bad spending habits we had accumulated. We chipped away at our debts one by one, and ever since then we have continued to do so.
Since 2019, we have gone through several different financial seasons. We've lived paycheck to paycheck, and we've also had an abundance of extra. I've worked out of the home and I've also been a stay at home mom. We've added 4 children to our family during that time, and we've had to adjust our budget many many times.
Through it all, though, we try our best to always be intentional with how we are stewarding "our" money. After all, it doesn't really belong to us anyway, right?
Everything we have belongs to the Lord.
Although, we could probably do better in this area as parents, we do try to help our children understand money and how to be good stewards of it as well. They each got a piggy bank for Christmas and they are learning how to save up for something they really really want.
3. The Cloyds give credit where credit is due
Every. single. blessing we have received is from God.
Our beautiful and spacious 4-bedroom home? From God.
My husband's IT job working with some of the best Godly men you have ever met? From God.
The hand-me-downs we were given from a friend? From God.
The breathtaking sunsets we get to witness from our back porch? From God.
The new pink tennis shoes my daughter picked out because pink is her absolute FAVORITE? From God.
The friends we have who will drop everything in a moment's notice to be there for us in a time of need? From God.
The venison spaghetti made from the deer my husband harvested this season? From God.
The first breath in our lungs each morning? From God.
These are some things we continually thank God for in our prayers. We try to always always always verbalize to our children the ways in which God has provided for our family. Our prayer is that by doing so, they will learn how to recognize these blessings on their own and know where they came from -- from the God who loves them enough to care about pink tennis shoes and rainbow sheets.
4. The Cloyds all pitch in
As I'm sure you can imagine with a family of 7, laundry never stops. Dishes are never-ending. The floor always needs swept. And the toilets need scrubbed far more often than they are used to being.
As members of our household, our kids are expected to help with these things.
In addition to keeping their bedrooms and the toy room picked up, our kids also help sort the laundry, load the dishwasher, wipe down tables, sweep, dust, clean windows, scrub toilets, weed the garden, clean the chicken coop, feed animals, break ice, and help with all the many DIY projects we constantly have going.
Yes, they are all very young and some might think they're too young for such chores. But you know what? They're not. Most of the time they actually do a great job.
In our minds, this goes back to creating a sense of gratitude and responsibility surrounding the many things God has blessed us with.
The Cloyds take care of the things God has given us.
Plus, if everyone pitches in, it gets done faster and that gives mom and dad more time to play with our kids. Its a win-win.
I'd rather raise capable kids than entitled ones. Can I get an amen?