Ask your child what he wants for dinner only if he's buying.
~Fran Lebowitz, Social Studies
As a child my family's menu consisted of two choices: take it, or leave it.
I smiled when I stumbled on these quotes. When we visit others, my children are sometimes at a loss when they are asked: "what do you want?" - it's not a question they have to answer often. It always amazes me when parents reel off options for their children and then when the children turn down all the options they start scrambling to generate something else...
What?! Why?! I've been teaching my children to accept and appreciate what they are offered. If they do not like what they have been offered they should graciously decline with a "no, thank you" - rather than a demanding "do you have___________ or _____________? I'm not saying children should never have the opportunity of choosing what they want but it should not be their way of life. It is not unlikely that some children will not like particular things - I mean even I don't like everything but that is also dependent on how we raise them. Some children even have the audacity of saying "we don't eat that in our house."
I've had children over who ate whatever I offered to the amazement of their parents - I guess their option (or lack thereof) was clear. When it struck me that my children sometimes ate the same things they turned down at home in other people's homes, I had to clamp down on that "bi-polar" attitude - I will have none of that especially since it is not a virtue. The reason I continue to harp on this is simple, how do you expect them to adjust if/when they leave the house or are in situations where the desirable is not available?
"The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything;
they just make the most of everything that comes along their way."
~ Karen S.Magee
“There are two lasting bequests we can give our children:
One is roots, the other is wings.”
~ Hodding Carter
When they do "fly into their future", our children need to be rooted enough to know that the desirable is not always available and that the available may need to become desirable and that they can make the most or even best of everything that comes their way. Of course they can - Rom 8:28 tells us that all things - not only good/positive things - work together for our good. I guarantee you, life will definitely be "easier" for them if they learn this at home rather than receive hard knocks "out in the real world" - it also teaches them to be thankful for what is available. The real lesson to be taught is: we must all "be thankful" for what we have not what we don't.
Christmas is a great time to start teaching or reinforcing that lesson.