The battle for the next generation is waged in the theater of our homes. Its field is that of the mundane, every day life that we live and take for granted, and its greatest tool is the lives that we live.
An article by Reuters recently said the following:
Parents’ fears that children become increasingly materialistic and less generous as they hit teenage years appear to be well-founded, according to U.S. research.
The article continues to talk about the age breakdowns, and how teens want more money and things and are less likely to have a caring heart.
Perhaps another article can shed some light on why this is the case:
Heard the one about a group of seven-year-olds picked up in stretch limousines to transport them to a friend’s birthday party?
Or New York’s designer candy store, Dylan’s Candy Bar, that charges $1,200 for a 90-minute party for 20 preschoolers?
Or the sleepover party at New York’s upmarket FAO Schwarz toy store on ritzy Fifth Avenue where a store spokeswoman said prices start from $25,000?
The cost and range of children’s birthday parties has spiraled out of control, according to one group of U.S. parents and educators who have joined forces to collectively stamp their feet and say “enough is enough.”
“Toys overflow, birthday parties become Hollywood productions, and electronic gear takes over the home,” said William Doherty, a professor in the University of Minnesota’s department of family social science.
“It’s time to take a deep breath and ask ourselves how to parent wisely nowadays, beginning with small things like birthday parties.”
You see, it seems to me that parents both know the cause and the outcome, but they may not have put it together. What does it say to a child when there’s a continual escalation in the gifts that they are given, what they expect at their birthday parties, and that there parents are keep having to do it better the next time?
In my house, growing up, each of us children had one birthday party with friends. It probably wasn’t the norm at the time, but it was what my parents could do. But also, my generation has a quicker access to credit, the desire to have what our parents have without the time and sacrifice, and the lack of discipline. And the sad part is, what we are doing now is being magnified in our children.
We are creating a generation of thankless people. A group of people that believe that they are entitled to things. A people that believe that they should have things better than there parents, and the sick thing is, the government will be the ones bailing them out when they over extend themselves.
If that’s not the worst of it, what do you think will happen when teenagers who think they are entitled to things grow up and do not get all they desire? How will they react?
It is us to us, as parents, to put an end to this. Our grandparent’s generation was the great generation– not because the people in the generation were so great, but because they had to do with little and they were able to cultivate the things that really mattered. It was not something shameful to not have money, it was something of joy to have each other and to trust in God.
Affluence brings with it greed and discontentment. It would serve us to show our teens, our children, that money isn’t everything, that they should be thankful for what they have, and that there is more to life than things– or we may quickly find ourselves in a lot of trouble.