Friday, October 22, 2010

Cultivating Contentment in Children

I talk quite a bit about personal contentment around here, but today I'm taking it from a slightly different angle.

With the Holidays approaching and my mailbox being spammed by store circulars and mail-order catalogs, it can be easy to be caught up in the frenzy of this, the biggest shopping time of the year.

But what toll does all of this have on the people in our lives that we are examples for?  Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas and anticipation and gifts as much as the next person, but at the end of the day it is just stuff - stuff that eventually makes its way to my Purple Heart donation bag on the front doorstep.

I read blogs and magazines and hear speakers talk about keeping the focus on "The Reason for the Season."  I wonder, if I, as an adult, struggle to keep that in the forefront of my focus, how much more difficult is it for my little people?

This year, I am seeking to protect my children from the chatter and clang and empty promises that the commercials promote.  I am hoping to cultivate contentment in my littles.

Here are ideas:

~Cancel your cable - don't watch commercials.  Marketers are paid big bucks and do lots of research to concoct the perfect ad that will grab your child's interest and place that seed of desire in their hearts.  Keep your kids far away from commercials.

~ Give Experiences as Gifts - a visit to the indoor water park or zoo will create memories and bonding family experiences - more so than a video game or the latest Fur Real pet will.

~ Cultivate Contentment in your own life -your children will see the priorities of your family and emulate them naturally.

~ Keep few toys in your home to avoid over-saturation and ambivalence.

~Consider giving as a family to a charity or participating in ministry at your Church.  Teach your kids the value of giving to others, either of time, money, or gifts.

~Play with your kids.  When you prioritize family time and play with your kids, no toy can replace that time.  I'm sure you've heard the quote "Kids spell love 'T-I-M-E'."  Are you giving your kids this most precious gift?

~Protect your kids from envy.  I do this by discussing our family priorities with my kids.  We don't buy unnecessary things because we'd rather use that money to do fun things together, or go visit family members, etc.  When they realize that the things they enjoy most they DO have in their lives, they will be more accepting of not always getting the latest gadget.

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  1. What a beautiful post. We are planning on taking a break from pretty much everything in December and just enjoy being with eachother, enjoying the outdoors (we live in a desert, so Dec is a prime outside month) and focus on the Lord.

    I'm with you. December can be such a hectic month that breeds anything and everything except contentment. For us, I'm thinking a break from everything will be nice.

  2. Heather - that sounds lovely! A break is really what we all need!

  3. This is a topic that is always on my mind at this time of year. With four kiddos who are the sole grandchildren, we are usually bombarded with "things". Experiences are my favorite gifts to give and to receive. And there is no greater gift than that of time!

  4. Until just yesterday (!!) my children were the sole grandchildren on both sides. It can get a bit crazy!


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