If anybody has ever seen the Movie "What About Bob?" This is one of the famous lines from that movie that we all laugh about. There is this grown man, wanting something more from his psychiatrist than the man can offer him.....and thus, drives his psychiatrist to madness.
One of the 10 commandments is "Thou Shalt Not Covet".... to covet is to want what somebody else has. We fixate on "keeping up with the Joneses", that famous ficticious family that lives in all neighborhoods, and ultimately, we don't appreciate what we have. Somebody else always has something better, somebody else has something nicer, bigger, more expensive and it never, NEVER ends!
We watched a documentary over Thanksgiving Weekend about marketing to kids. One thing they actually mentioned was they WANTED to cause kids to NAG their parents for more! Isn't that sad?
There is an entire industry directed at children to make them covet, covet, covet, want, want, want, and tell them they NEED,NEED,NEED and it encourages them to NAG!
The other branch of this industry is aimed at adults. It causes the exact same result.
Nobody is immune to it, not children, not adults.
That is... unless God intervenes in our sinfulness and helps us to see a different way.
Until we see that Christ is our sufficiency and our satisfaction can only be found in Him; that He is our provider and will give us what we NEED, and HIS blessings are the BEST, we will be hopeless slaves to covetousness and we will go on in life unsatisfied and unfulfilled.
We recently purchased the "FIOS" package for phone, internet and cable..... we have never had cable Tv before, in fact, we don't really watch TV, (commercial TV) we have always used the TV as a giant video player. So TV was introduced and we were checking it out.
It cracked me up watching the girlies see a commercial and get excited and say, "Mama, we NEED to get that, it is only 19.95 and they offer more free! You can't WAIT! It will be too late! LOL It was for some sort of storage system for food that I could go down to walmart and purchase if needed for far less than 19.95 and not have to pay shipping. BUT, I didn't need it!
The POWER of the TV was there, drawing them in...... The newness of the FIOS wore off, and we have learned to keep it off and use it for proper purposes like international news coverage or documentaries we can record, and that is about it. Due to the analogue signals going away in February, we will most likely keep the package as it is not that much more per month, but I truly hate paying for something like that, AND honestly, I'm not ready to totally give up the news. (my own personal issue)
Long ago, when the boys were little, we went without TV at all for a very long time, and then introduced them to the video system. We didn't watch commercial TV.... therefore, they never really knew what they needed and didn't have because nobody told them so. LOL
We have done the same with the girls, so they don't see all the amazing stuff they are missing. In fact, I just figured out what a Wii was a couple of months ago. I had no idea.
During this season of "I Wants", how do we teach our children they already have ALL they NEED?
Some lessons are difficult to teach without the necessity of hardship, but CAN be taught without needing to be homeless.
Many years ago, we were in the "homeless category". It was an awful, AWFUL period of time in my life. It ended when we were able to move in to subsidized housing. Our children were quite young. In fact, Marcus was just 6 weeks old. Our oldest son Chucky turned 5 before Christmas, we also had a 2 1/2 year old, a 1 1/2 year old and a 5 month old. We also had NO MONEY. We had barely enough to feed the basics like oatmeal and baby formula and diapers, and sometimes not even that.
I was trying to figure a way to make a special Christmas for our children, without money. We went to the mall and made things special by seeing the decorations and lights. We went to the free programs put on by churches. We read Christmas stories and talked about the TRUE MEANING of Christmas. It was Christ's Birthday, Not ours!
I had no money for ornaments on a tree or even a tree for that matter, but we found one for a few dollars. It was definitely a "Charlie Brown" sort of tree. I came up with the idea of decorating the tree with cookies. This was something we could do together and the babies could decorate them. It was CHEAP TOO! Flour, sugar, butter, and viola' we had ornaments, just had to buy the hooks.
It was a sight, but the children were so proud of that tree!
As Christmas was coming, I noticed our oldest son had not asked for anything for Christmas. I didn't ask him what he wanted, it was of no use, as I couldn't have provided it for him anyway. We just let the holiday happen. I really wanted to get him something, SOMETHING...
In a moment of desperation, I went to the Salvation Army on Christmas Eve. I asked if they had anything left over. The lady yelled at me.."You should have signed up for this in OCTOBER!" I said, "I'm sorry, I didn't know how to be poor!" How was I supposed to know? I'm not a professional poor person! Her attitude changed and she came back with a coloring book and a super man pen. Nobody wanted those.
I went back to our house, totally humiliated, reminding myself of my own words. "It's Christs Birthday, not ours". I wrapped those 2 items in newspaper for the next a.m.
We hung little tube socks up and I filled them with a few pieces of candy, a cookie and an orange. That is what the babies got. Our oldest son, who was old enough to understand, received the coloring book and pen.
You know what happened? Our babies were THRILLED to get their candy and orange. Our 5 year old was THRILLED to get his coloring book and pen. "WOW! A COLORING BOOK! "WOW! A PEN!" A SUPER MAN PEN! WHOO HOO!
I sat back and took a sigh of relief.......
several years later:
We were talking about Christmases past with the guys. One of our oldest son's favorite Christmases, was that one.
The other boys were too young to remember.
But, they still love to come home and find cookies on the tree to eat.:) You see, we STILL put cookies on the tree along with other decorations of course, but those cookies will always be a part of our lives.
I am a strong believer that commercialism takes the joy out of the holidays. It saps the satisfaction of just having simple family time and friends gathered around to be together from our children and causes them to want something else, something lesser, something awful. It is a catalyst for covetousness.
As parents, it is our responsibility to help our children to see things differently.
Some lessons are hard to teach when you don't have "need". Therefore, it is very important to create need. With our girlies, we do not give them everything they want and we have a continual battle to fight with people giving them too much. They have less than many, but less isn't bad, it is just less. We don't need the newest things, the best dolls, the best clothes, the best toys, just like we don't need the newest car, the newest dishes, the newest house. A bike is a bike is a bike. Two wheels and it goes down the driveway just as wonderful as a new one, and it doesn't matter if you crash!
Some of the ways we can help our kids through the covet maze is to expose them to those less fortunate. Take them to the retirement home to visit those who have nobody. Take them to the soup kitchens to help serve in the lines, have them pick an angel from the angel tree to purchase a gift for Christmas and let THEM do it. (I think those are the ones who signed up in October) LOL
If you know of a family in your church or neighborhood in need, make a plan WITH your children to make their Christmas special. Bring a beautiful basket with a Ham or Turkey and all the fixings, let your children pick some gifts out to give and bless this family. (they will be the family that DIDN'T sign up in October)
As your little ones learn to give, and give well, and see that not all children have nice things, it will help them to appreciate more what they do have.
Here are a few ideas to help them participate:
1. Let them earn money for chores to buy gifts for the needy
2. Let them pick the gifts, putting themselves in the position of the other person.
3. Let them wrap the gift and deliver.
4. Let them make a home made card or cards to give to neighbors and the elderly.
I will write another post about learning to appreciate what we Do have soon.
“I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God- it changes me.”
― C. S. Lewis
― C. S. Lewis
I believe in the sun even when it's not shining. I believe in love even when I don't feel it. And I believe in God even when He is silent. (quote found on the wall of a concentration camp)