August 17, 2022

The Battle For A Generation

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.

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7 thoughts on “The Battle For A Generation

  1. Sadly, as we see families splitting up, one of the consequences appears to be an increase in just the problem you described. The parents compete to outdo each other. The grandparents step in to fill perceived gaps in the kids lives with stuff. Sometimes the grandparents try to compete, other times grandparents who can’t compete just take a back-seat role in the kid’s life.

    From where I sit, it’s not a pretty picture.

  2. What I wonder is, what will happen to all these poorly equipped children/young adults, when (if) the stock market falls and we are plunged into a depression again!! They won’t have any clue how to survive!

    We can’t believe that the economy is going to remain stable forever. It is foolish to assume that our “standard of living” is going to continue to increase…(where else can it go!?)

    It concerns me greatly that these are the people who will be in the working force when the rest of the Baby Boomers retire, and we are supporting huge amounts of elderly people on few workers.

    Sounds like a recipe for disaster.

    I plan on teaching my children frugal habits, and gardening etc… In fact, when my tummy starts to feel better I am determined to pare down our STUFF, to more minimal amounts. Especially clothes and toys.

    Mrs. Meg Logan

  3. Oh…to go back to the ‘simple’ life of 75 or more years ago! When life was more about survival than keeping up with your neighbors or friends. I find this whole article very sad, but so true.

    We have always had to struggle financially, and in so many ways that has been very good for our children. We haven’t been able to just ‘give’ them everything. Our oldest daughter is paying her own way through Bible college and the next one will have to also. (I don’t mean loans either!) Our children have had to learn to work hard, cook from scratch and be very frugal. But they have also seen the graciousness of other’s help and giving and that has made them want do the same for others.

  4. Oh Meg, I had wondered if that was why you hadn’t been posting. Well, as much as I wish you feeling better, at least it’s for a very good reason. 🙂

    Our family has been much like Deborah’s, in that we’ve always struggled financially. (For the past several years we have been able to make some choices. For that I am thankful.) My spender daughter, in particular, considers it quite an advantage to not have grown up with everything handed to her. She also will be paying for her own Bible college, however the Lord chooses to provide for her.

    (How old are your boys, Deborah? 😉 )

  5. We have just one boy, 13 years old. And of course he is right in the middle of all those girls…poor thing! He keeps telliing us that we planned it that way…but his father will have to handle that discussion! :blush:

  6. This is so true…our last Christmas was full of materialism (to the point that we wouldn’t have had to buy our children anything, they got it ALL from extended family). Next year, I’ve determined to somehow put my foot down. I don’t want my children to lose their appreciation and gratitude, and too many gifts is the best way to drain enthusiasm.

    Meg mentioned the “what-if’s” of the next generation facing a depression…well, what about what’s going on across the US right now? Massive power outages…we have friends in Iowa who have been without electricity for a week and are using melted snow to flush their toilets. We’ve been terribly sick this week with the flu, and I told the girls today to imagine how much worse this past week would have been if we’d been without electricity? Then we thought, what if we were pioneers going through this (influenza)? Having to go out and haul water, use the outhouse, possibly lose each other to this illness for lack of health care/nutrition…not to mention the laundry I’d be doing by hand…

    I’m so thankful for modern conveniences, but what a responsibility, because it’s more challenging to train children to be good workers when everything comes so easily.

  7. It’s so amazing to me just how far some parents will go to “give their children what they never had” without realizing the damage that they are doing. We really need to take inventory of what we are doing and figure out what the impact is in the grand scheme of things.

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