We all want our kids to have a better life than we had growing up. Even if you had a great child hood, I think it’s an idea that just comes naturally to everyone. I wonder though, if that goal is really doing more to harm our kids than help them. Take birthday’s for an example. When I was a child, we didn’t have Pinterest perfect birthday parties with cupcakes flawlessly matching the hand constructed pendent banner complete with a table creaking under the weight of gifts…a scene which seems to be the norm for children now. Did I suffer from it? Did I feel deprived as a child? Not exactly, I adored my birthday! I had a homemade cake, and usually one gift from each member of my immediate family. If I was especially lucky, Grandma and Grandpa would send me a few dollars. Birthday’s were looked forward to with immense anticipation! And, when it was all said and done, my parents made me do the unthinkable thing. I was actually instructed to sit down, and write a hand written thank you note to anyone who gave me a gift! (Truth be told, that part I did actually dislike quite a bit, and considered it an unjust hardship…) When I look back and think, I’d like to give my daughters better than that, I must also consider what it is exactly that I am trying to give them.
If giving them a “better birthday” teaches them that they should expect their elders and peers to give them all their heart could wish, am I truly doing them a favor? For, when they are grown, they will be sadly disappointed when their wishes are not so easily gratified. By giving them more than their little minds can even absorb, will the day mean anything more to them? Probably not, not to mention it does little to prepare them for the day when those around them may have little to give. Heaven help the poor boy who marries our high maintenance daughters and tries to support them without a six digit income! Will they feel more loved for my excess? I think not. What memories of your childhood do you hold the closest?…they most likely have nothing to do with what your parents gave you, but more to do with the times you spent together.
The pink plastic pony will fade in the sun and be long forgotten in two months time…but things like gratefulness, don’t fade. By forming the habit of over indulging, I am teaching the little heart to expect more of the same. If great importance is placed on the amount of good a person can do for me, well then, people soon become a means of gratification, just things to be used to get my way.
I’m not against fine things for my kids, but I ought to never let the focus be those things. I’d rather they had nothing and grow up to be sensitive, unspoiled and unselfish adults. I don’t think it has to be a “one or the other” deal though, it’s all a matter of where I put the emphasis. Instead of “Oh look at your new pretty pink coat!”…I can switch the emphasis to, “Oh wasn’t that so nice of Mrs. So and So to buy this for you, I know she works so hard! Let’s not forget to thank her next time we see her.” A small thing it may be, but kids are smart. They will know in a minute where I place the value of the gift… squarely on the person behind the gift.
If all I give my girls is nicer toys, prettier clothes, and better opportunities than I had, and I deprive the character of my girls, than I’ve actually handed them a worse life than the ones my parents worked so hard to give me. A better life is only better if I’ve helped them become more the women God created them to be.
Matthew 6:19-21 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
This is our day on the blog to refocus. Find more refocus challenge posts HERE.
Linking to: THESE great blogs Between Naps on the Porch