By: Anna M. Aquino.
I have always hated the phrase “He who dies with the most toys win.” No let’s be real. “He who dies with the most toys” is still dead. We live in a culture where there are extremes on every corner. Media is teaching our daughters that in order to be something special they have to have more, be more, look the best, and be the smartest. Instant gratification is the earmark of our society. I don’t want my daughter’s being raised in it’s shadow. Everywhere our children look there is a new toy, new product, or a new high sugary snack food that’s ingredients really classify it as a candy. They are programmed by television to want more and more. It’s a hole that is taught it must be filled in order to have any satisfaction but it’s never really filled. Yet we wonder why our society and daughters start becoming more and more superficial, demanding, and unbalanced. We’ve all had our daughters beg us for a toy one minute yet the next have it tossed on the growing mountain of toys that they no longer want. Seas of credit card debt linger in the midst of most American families, driving a wedge in the peace the family needs. We can no longer keep putting a band-aid on this growing issue in our society. It’s time we start getting real with our children, and being real with ourselves.
Our children are being taught a grave lesson and we as parents must do something about it. We have to rise up and take a stand against the extreme nature of this culture. We have to be the ones to start teaching them a healthy balance in their lives. I’m not saying never give your daughter anything. But I am saying is that we need to teach them balance in this land of extremes in which we live. We need to raise them to have healthy views of themselves away from the media. We must teach them while their young that the “next big product” will not make them a better person. We need to instill in them what it means to have balance. Sadly it’s a lesson I think our society has forgotten. Not long ago I was listening to someone complain about spending hundreds of dollars on a child’s toy only to discover the child really wanted the box instead of the toy. Children are born with an amazing sense of imagination. That box can be a robot one minute and a hat the next. It doesn’t have to talk to them in order to be a cool toy.
I was rereading the classic story of Little House on the Prairie some time ago and I marveled at how all Laura had as far as toys was one doll. She protected that doll and cherished it. Their idea of a good Christmas was a stick of candy and a tin cup so she and her Sister Mary didn’t have to share cups anymore. It wasn’t all about stuff, stuff, and more stuff. They were content with what they were given. So can we teach our girls not to be so extreme? Limit the amount of clothes and toys you buy for your children. “gasp” My kids don’t get everything they want. Even if I have the money for something they want sometimes I’ll just say no to teach them that no is okay. There are times we will get it for them, but they need to learn how to hear the word no and be okay with it. The word no should never send a child into an emotional tailspin. My kids are blessed in that they get clothes and toys from various relatives and for the most part their needs are met. If their dad and I feel they have a need for something we might buy it for them, but we’re really limited on that.
Tips to Create Balance:
1. Make your children go through their rooms and get rid of the toys and clothes that they don’t need or use anymore. I make it a habit especially for a holiday we are going through each of their rooms. If the toy or clothing is okay for another child we either donate it to a Goodwill or someone we know at church who might have need of it.
2. Teach your children that there are people all over the world less fortunate than them. When my youngest gets older I want to have my girls volunteer their time at a soup kitchen. Kids need to learn that they are blessed and to value what they have in this life. We talk about people around the world. When Hurricane Katrina hit my oldest went through her room and gathered toys that I know she valued to give to children who lost everything. That was one of my proudest moments as a mom. You have to teach your children to care for others. They cannot be so selfish that they never see the world around them.
3. Raise them to have a healthy view of themselves. Explain to them that if life becomes about more and more stuff, then really it’s an addiction. Addictions are when there is something empty in a person’s life. They have to love who they are. Change what you feel you must but love yourself. Getting a new toy won’t make them a better person.
4. Check the balances in your own life. Your girls will do what they’ve seen. If you want to raise your daughters to have a healthy balance then you need to be in balance yourself.
We are never going to raise our children void of our culture and society. I wouldn’t dream of doing so. But you must raise your daughters to be in society but yet not act like everyone else. It’s important for you to raise healthy complete children then the lessons of balance must start early. Train up a child when they are young so that when they are old they won’t depart from it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Anna M. Aquino is a super fabulous woman of God, wife and mother of two daughters. Her bi-weekly Biblical teaching blog is read around the world and translated in India.That can be viewed at www.annamaquino.blogspot.com She’s been published in various publications. In addition Ms. Aquino has a new book,Exposing the spirit of Balaam, set to release with Destiny Image Publishers in March of 2012. If you would like to learn more about her please visit her website at www.annamaquino.com.
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