I’m working hard on remembering that (whether we can afford it or not. . .) living with less is not always a sacrifice for our children. While we don’t live in an incredibly affluent area, we do live in an area where parents tend to dote on their children (and I’m guilty of quite a bit of doting myself!)
What I’m amazed at though is how the stuff that we think our children “need” for a happy existence continues to get bigger every day. At 11 years old, my son is one of the few children that he plays with that doesn’t have his own phone. (I’m not sure when he’ll get one, but according to my hubby it won’t be in the very near future . . . we’ll see!) Not a single one of my children have a television in their bedrooms (and I can pretty safely say they never will), instead we just have one family TV that sits in our living room. (A very sweet little girl visited our house recently and innocently said “Gee, I feel really sorry for your kids because they don’t have a TV in their room . . . how do they live?” Ummm … they just do.)
Do you know what? They’re doing just fine and haven’t suffered one bit because of it! And, call us really crazy, but we don’t let them watch TV after school or play video games, instead they play outside or in the playroom with friends. Yup, it’s always noisy at our house (very, very noisy!), but goodness they’re some pretty great kids! (Not that I’d be a mama who’s prone to brag or anything . . .)
Here’s the message that I’m preaching more to myself way more than to anyone out there who takes the time to read this. . . Don’t get fooled into believing that your children “need” fancy toys, beautiful rooms, or high dollar electronics to make them happy. They really can survive on less than others around them, and (maybe!) it’ll just make them strong kids one day because of it.
I’m not saying that it’s easy. at. all. My eleven year old is starting to realize that many of his friends family’s choose to do things differently than we do, but for the most part, he *seems* okay with it. I think our struggle is only made more difficult because he really is growing up in a world where it does seem that everyone around him has so stinkin’ much. However, that’s only in his very tiny world, and I remind him of that all too often. Compared to most of the world, we have simple crazy abundance, and I so pray that he’ll eventually learn that even though there are tons of things we might choose to purchase, we can also choose sometimes instead to give to those who may never live in the same world that he does. (Do you know what I mean?)
This weekend a woman came and spoke to our church about the ministry she does in the Upper Sand Mountain Parish. She recently was having lunch with her daughter, and a child at their table was eating as much food as he possibly could, because he knew that was the last meal he would eat that day. This child lives just two hours from my home. He was born into the same world that my little boy was, yet he may never know the crazy abundance that my son lives in every day. (I hate that!!!!)
So, my son will be okay for right now without a fancy phone, his own television, and will even make it without a high dollar video game. (And please don’t misunderstand, he has way too many fancy shoes, name brand shirts, and even plays Temple Run on my iPad almost daily, so we sure don’t live without much at all!) But, if I can somehow enstill in him the value of helping others instead of only himself, I’ll feel like one rock-star of a mom. (Wouldn’t that be the most fun thing to pass on to your children?)
I’d love to hear your tips on how you teach your children the value of their “needs” vs. “wants” in a world where there is so much around us. (It’s such a hard one to teach!) Please leave a comment with your suggestions!