Broken Sugar Bowl

by Kimba on November 2, 2009

in Faith and Family

I have a broken sugar bowl. My caffeine-deprived fingers fumbled its lid one morning as I was getting my coffee. My oldest son was nearby and said, “Don’t worry mommy. You can get a new one.”

Simple words that were meant to comfort me. Instead, they broke my heart.

My kids don’t have a spirit of thankfulness. Things like toys, games, books and clothes come easily for them. They have generous grandparents, aunts and uncles. And they have a mom who is an uber-bargain-shopper. This has all lead to too much stuff.

And not enough gratitude. When something breaks, we just get a new one.

I decided that moment would be a teaching moment. We talked about being grateful for what we have and caring for our things because sometimes, when something breaks, it can’t be replaced. Sometimes we fix what’s been broken and sometimes we make due (do?) without.

And so we carefully pieced back together the lid of my sugar bowl. We found each little sliver of ceramic and super-glued it in place.

Nearly 2 years later, I still have my broken sugar bowl. I could run to Target and buy a new one for $6. I could probably find a nearly new one at Goodwill for $1. But the lesson that is remembered every single time we use that sugar bowl is worth more than a new one.

We still have too much stuff and not enough gratitude. We also have a bunch of friends who probably wonder why I have a busted sugar bowl. But now we also have a reminder. Even if it’s only me that gets the reminding.

~~~~~~~~~~Keep scrolling down or click here to read today’s Make Your Home More Welcoming Challenge.

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1 mom3crazygirls November 2, 2009 at 10:19 am

that was just beautiful, thank you

2 Trac~ November 2, 2009 at 10:28 am

I couldn't agree more – my kids have NO concept at all of what it means to fix something that is broken, as they too seem to think that you can just go out and buy a new one – no matter what it is and no matter how hard we've stressed to them over the years that they need to take care of their stuff and ours for that matter, when they use it. *sigh*

3 Karin November 2, 2009 at 10:30 am

That's a great reminder. And I think you are so right. I try to teach our little ones to care about the things around them, the things they play with, the things they use. We fix a lot too. Even the silliest things.

And about being a writer or not: I think you're doing a wonderful job 🙂

4 Just Me November 2, 2009 at 10:36 am

and on that note of gratitude, here is another read:

5 Gina @ The Shabby Chic Cottage November 2, 2009 at 10:41 am

That is a truly beautiful & highly needed message. Thanks for sharing such a touching moment.

6 Danielle @ Transforming Home November 2, 2009 at 10:42 am

Lovely post Kimba.

7 Nancy November 2, 2009 at 10:44 am

I agree on showing our kids genuine Thankfulness.So important today. Thanks for the post. I love it and the reminder of it. I am really making a go of it this month. Going to get down on gratitude all month long. Finding joy and being thankful for all things big and small.

8 Marcy November 2, 2009 at 10:46 am

What a good reminder… as you said, even if it is just for ourselves.

9 Julie November 2, 2009 at 10:51 am

I LOVE this post! Don't we all have too much "stuff"? I talked my family into nixing xmas gifts this year and adopting a family instead. We're all so excited about it!

10 Thena November 2, 2009 at 10:51 am

Very well written. Thank you.

11 ♥Amber Filkins♥ November 2, 2009 at 10:51 am

Great lesson. I wish more families would teach their children to be grateful for what they have.

12 Michelle@Fromhousetohome November 2, 2009 at 10:56 am

Absolutely, I feel the same way about my kids. They just don't appreciate what they have and we don't say no to them enough when it comes to material items. Last week we took them out to dinner and they complained the entire time. I had that moment, you know the one, where you feel all old and stuff. I thought, when I was a kid we never went out to dinner. It was rare and appreciated. Soooo, as much as I hate to cook, I've mapped out a new schedule full of eating at home. We'll have one meal out every two weeks and that is it. Time for a "sugar bowl" lesson for my own kids but in a different way.
Great post!

13 Astrid November 2, 2009 at 11:11 am

Fantastic post!

I have trouble with that very same issue. I'm so grateful for the life I am able to give my family but my girls…well…they seem ungrateful at times.

14 Debbie @ November 2, 2009 at 11:11 am

Good post! I enjoyed reading…I agree…every day I am grateful for something…I remind myself to thank God and my hubby (hahaha) for something!
I have a few broken things that are repaired…a little shabby chic…that's what God does with us. Takes our broken pieces glues them together and then uses us as His new beautiful creation! Voila!

15 Cassie November 2, 2009 at 11:17 am

Count me among the guilty. I love your story and have really enjoyed reading the very inspiring comments from everyone. Life isn't about "stuff" but in this materialistic world it's so easy to forget that. Thanks for the reminder!

16 Jen@Balancing Beauty and Bedlam November 2, 2009 at 11:31 am

Isn't this so true, and just talked about this same thing in our Sunday School class last week.
My hubby and I decided that I can't bring home any more toys from yard sales because it wasn't giving the kids a true representation of life, gratitude, work ethic etc.. They just knew that "Mommy Santa" came every week with something new to them. (I knew it was a quarter, they knew/thought they were "entitled.)

17 Love the Decor! November 2, 2009 at 11:37 am

Love this post!!
You were right to see that as a teachable moment
Good job Mom!!

18 Steph @ somewhatsimple November 2, 2009 at 11:48 am

i need to go brake my sugar bowl now- in front of my kids, of course!

19 Lynda @ SportsMadGirl November 2, 2009 at 11:59 am

What a lovely post. Thanks for the reminder that we all need to be more grateful.

You may not think you are a writer but I think you do a fantastic job.

20 Megan @ Little Bella Bean November 2, 2009 at 12:03 pm

Thank you for sharing that insight. Those daily reminders are so important. Your broken sugar bowl reminds me of the monuments that the Israelites would set up when God worked in their lives or corrected them on something. We should all allow God to work in our lives in things as simple as a broken sugar bowl.

21 BeautifulWreck November 2, 2009 at 12:31 pm

This was a beautiful post.

22 S3XinthePantry November 2, 2009 at 12:38 pm

Oh, I love that. What a way to use a teaching moment over time!

found you through SITS

23 Amanda @ Serenity Now November 2, 2009 at 12:44 pm

Good reminder for you and US. 🙂 I started a 27 Days of Thankful project yesterday. Hope you might have a chance to stop by. 🙂

24 Tiffany November 2, 2009 at 12:52 pm

Thank you for sharing this. I love that you have kept that broken sugar bowl as a reminder. We all need that reminder.

25 Steph November 2, 2009 at 12:58 pm

This is such a wonderful post, and I'm very grateful. It's a great reminder for us, and a wonderful lesson for your children (and the child in all of us!).

26 Beth@The Stories of A to Z November 2, 2009 at 1:05 pm

Such a beautiful reminder! Thanks for sharing your heart.

27 Vanessa November 2, 2009 at 1:24 pm

Very wise words Kimba. My husband and I always talk/teach our little one about that. Often I hear his family saying the same words…"you can get a new one" for almost anything. Sometimes I feel judged by them for being so frugal but I'm still thankful even for all the Goodwill and Target brand stuff I have. I was so please to read such beautiful lines and know that there are still people in this world who cares about being grateful. Have a blessed day! Vanessa

28 Lolli November 2, 2009 at 1:37 pm

That really is a great reminder. It has been interesting this last year as our family has transitioned to NOT having the money to replace things or buy new toys or clothes that the gratitude has increased instead of decreased. I have been very proud of my kids as they have learned to make do or do without.

29 Dianne November 2, 2009 at 1:52 pm

One of the most treasured items of my grandparents' estate was a sugar bowl that my grandfather had dropped, broken and mended. Everyone in the family wanted it because of its 'personal' mark.

30 Jennifer Archibald November 2, 2009 at 1:56 pm

You have brought tears to my eyes. What a wonderful mom you are, to take a situation and make it a learning opportunity. May we all be ever vigilant to take those moments and use it to teach our children valuable lessons about life. SAHM-ing is about raising and training our children, preparing them for the REAL world; not just about getting though the day alive. Thank you for the reminder that every moment is valuable!

31 Toni November 2, 2009 at 2:29 pm

Kimba, this is such a great reminder for me, as well as my kids. Too many times, it has been easy to run out and replace something. I have a ton of stuff that I am getting rid of in another garage sale. I will keep only stuff that is meaningful to us and will teach my kids to be grateful and careful with the stuff we do keep. Thanks again for this post today!

32 ~Ellie Kings~ November 2, 2009 at 2:39 pm

Love this post… such a sweet reminder to be more grateful for what we have in life. Thanks Kimba!

33 Nancy Jacobs Basketmaster November 2, 2009 at 3:05 pm

Beautiful Lesson.

34 { L } November 2, 2009 at 3:19 pm

This is such an excellent post!! My kids act like that too with material things…everything is so easily replaceable. I am going to borrow this lesson you taught. Thank you!

35 prenticefamily November 2, 2009 at 3:23 pm

Brought tears to my eyes as it truly spoke to my heart. My little family is in the middle of some pretty overwhelming times and we have no choice but to repair anything that breaks. There is no ability to replace. It has been weighing heavily on my heart as I contemplate adding ruffles to the hems of my daughter's pants and dresses since that's less expensive than buying new to us clothes at Goodwill.

Instead, I am now thankful for having the ability to use a needle and thread. I'm thankful for the creativity to even come up with this solution.

Thank you for sharing what was on your heart. It touched mine.

36 Christine November 2, 2009 at 3:26 pm

I recently started a new business and am living mostly on my savings so I've learned to treasure every little thing He gives me. Thankfulness is a beautiful gift that we sometimes don't get to experience until income is taken away.

37 Denise @ Sunflowers, Chocolate and Little Boys November 2, 2009 at 3:38 pm

I loved this post. Thank you! It reminds me that I need to work harder on teaching my kids how to make do, and also for me to be a better example.

38 Brenda November 2, 2009 at 3:40 pm

Wonderful post. Very well told. I do believe you are a writer.

39 ALVN of WhisperWood Cottage and Junkologie November 2, 2009 at 3:59 pm

What a wonderful lesson to learn and to teach!


40 Carol in Indian Springs Village November 2, 2009 at 4:11 pm

That you for sending us to that post. When I was very young, I remember stamping my feet and telling my parents 'do it myself' because I wanted to fix it or do whatever it was by myself and not have any help. I wonder if God ever gets tired of seeing me say 'do it myself' and trying over and over to fix something that I cannot do alone. I talk about turning things over to God but to actually do it is something I've not been as faithful at. Thank you for the link, it reminds me to trust, to have faith, and most of all that there are things we cannot do on our own.

41 Sharon November 2, 2009 at 4:20 pm

Good lesson.

42 Anonymous November 2, 2009 at 5:58 pm

Loved your post. I grew up with a cookie jar that was glue together 4 different times – that helped make me appreciate what we had. That is a great leason which I need to teach my children!

43 Victoria of design my life November 2, 2009 at 6:22 pm

Beautifully put! I try to remember this every day. I hope if I am thankful my kids will grow up to be as well.

44 duchess November 2, 2009 at 6:32 pm

We so struggle with this in our household as well. I feel like it's a "sign of the times" and it's so hard to go back to what things were like even when we were kids. We try to keep the focus where it needs to be, but I feel like such a failure sometimes. I just have to keep reminding myself that this (raising future adults) is a marathon not a sprint.
Great post, Kimba.

45 Sarah November 2, 2009 at 6:47 pm

You are so right. I think of this with the coming season…our kids have so much, it's sometimes hard to think of what to give them! It makes me so frustrated too. Everything is disposal..breaks easily, easy to replace. I LOVE your chipped sugar bowl reminder!

46 Brittany at Mommy Words November 2, 2009 at 6:59 pm

Thank you for that wonderful reminder. We too are tyring to teach this lesson and it is tough one – for kids ad grown ups!

47 Sofia Striffler November 2, 2009 at 7:03 pm

You are so right, we can fix things instead of buying new. Great lesson

48 Jess @ Frugal with a Flourish November 2, 2009 at 7:26 pm

My mom loves to tell the story about how one time I asked for something and she pulled out here wallet and said, "We can't get it… see I don't have any money!" and I said "But momma, you has your credits!" (which is what I called the pretty credit cards I like to play with and rearrange in her wallet during church). From that day forward, she worked to teach us that we can't get everything we want on credit and sometimes you just have to make due with whatcha got!

I think that is a great lesson! Kudos to you for teaching it.

49 Vanessa November 2, 2009 at 7:39 pm

Best post ever! A great reminder to be appreciative of the things you already have.

50 BlueCastle November 2, 2009 at 7:44 pm

What a good reminder. It's so easy to have the "greedy gimmes". I dislike it when my kids act ungrateful, but then I have to think through my actions too – where are they learning it from? Contentment is something I am striving for.

51 Marsha's Mpressions November 2, 2009 at 7:48 pm

What a thoughtful post this is and you are a writer! 🙂

52 emily November 2, 2009 at 7:52 pm

Kimba. I just read this. And of course, I'm crying. Surprise, surprise. Thank you for this beautiful reminder of truth and thankfulness. You? Not a writer? Pa-leeze.

thanks for your sweet words.

53 Amber November 3, 2009 at 12:27 am

This was a wonderful teachable moment. I have a dear friend with 3 children who has a gift for realizing and taking advantage of teachable moments. I pray even now that when we have our own children, I will be able to see the teachable moments in life.

54 randee November 3, 2009 at 9:33 am

i've been thinking about your post for the last day. i think it's fabulous & so commendable that you glued your sugar bowl back together. i pray it spoke volumes to all of us that read it, i know it did to me. we live in the kind of neighborhood where if a bolt on a bike is loose, out it goes. something gets scratched – it's pitched. tuesday trashdays are treasure days around here. my dear hubby(Baba) brings home countless items & fixes, repairs or whatever's needed & gives it away. but he also buys lots of toys at GW for our oldest grandson. and, like jen expressed, Henry sort of thinks toys grow on trees (or Baba manufactures them, hah). we need to making sure he knows where they came from & that we don't buy new if at all possible & we need to limit our GW consumption, as well.

thanks, kimba, for another thoughtful post. your place is always a soft place to land.

peace –

55 TheClassy Woman November 3, 2009 at 11:57 am

This was a valuable post-thank you! While I don't have children at the moment, I see with so many the attitude of tossing the old and just picking up a new item. Some take better care of what they have than others but because many items can easily and cheaply be replaced, it is easy to do it without realizing. Sadly, this also contributes to a whole other issue which is unnecessary excess in our landfills.

I love re-purposing what I already owned and fixing little treasures. I believe that if we are good stewards of not only our money but also with all the resources we have, we will be given more (where more is needed). It would be hard to be blessed with more without an attitude of thankfulness and gratitude for what we currently have, no matter how bleak what we currently have may seem to us at the moment.

Just last night I came to the realization that I haven't been a good steward of time lately, that is a valuable resource also to cherish and be thankful for.

56 happy mama November 3, 2009 at 12:55 pm

Great post! Thanks so much for the reminder.

57 Marie November 4, 2009 at 9:51 am

Hello sweet Kimba – thank you for sharing this post. Boy what an eye opener and great reminder of our abundance. My kids would have told me the same thing your son said to you about "getting a new one" which should indeed grieve our hearts and cause us to have a more grateful heart. I'm so thankful you saw this as a teaching moment.


58 Jenny March 25, 2010 at 1:11 pm

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