More

Today, I'm linking up with Kate Motaung's Five Minute Friday. The rules: Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.

This week's prompt: More. 

More. 600x600

"More" signed my baby girl.

More was one of the first signs Hope learned; One of the first words she used to truly communicate what she wanted or needed.

More milk.

More food.

More park.

More legos.

More Frogs 2016

More worked well for her (and us) until Hope's first birthday, when she received a number of gifts from our very generous friends and family. Afterwards, she signed “More.”

She wanted more presents.

Inside, I died a little.

It seemed that in teaching my girl language, I failed to teach her manners. Immediately, I began worrying we were raising a materialistic narcissist.

But what could we do with a toddler who always wanted more?

We began swapping out toys so not everything was out at once.

We gently corrected her when she used more in ways that weren't really appropriate.

We began teaching her to give as well as receive.

Today, Hope is 23 months old and more is still one of her favorite words.

She still requests more milk, more food, more Pete the Cat, more books, more Dada, and more puzzles.

But the other day as we wandered around the zoo, I noticed something else. Hope also requested more lions, more penguins, more monkeys, and more walking.

When Hope is happy, she requests more.

When Hope is having fun, she demands more.

When Hope likes what she's doing, she wants more.

And don't we all?

Maybe wanting more is not necessarily a sign of a budding materialistic narcissist, but rather a reflection of what we all want - more of the intangibles, the things that make life really rich: Love, joy, relationships, and fulfillment.

As a parent, I want Hope to demand more love, joy, relationships, and fulfillment. In a society that will always demand more of her, I pray Hope has the courage to prioritize the intangibles she truly values.

Jen Bradbury on Youth Ministry

Jen serves as the director of youth ministry at Faith Lutheran Church in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. A veteran youth worker, Jen holds an MA in Youth Ministry Leadership from Huntington University. Jen is the author of The Jesus Gap: What Teens Actually Believe about Jesus (The Youth Cartel), The Real Jesus (The Youth Cartel), Unleashing the Hidden Potential of Your Student Leaders (Abingdon), and the forthcoming A Mission That Matters (Abingdon). Her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. Jen is also the Assistant Director of Arbor Research Group where she has led many national studies. When not doing ministry or research, she and her husband, Doug, and daughter, Hope, can be found traveling and enjoying life together.

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What Teens Actually Believe About Jesus

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