With the holidays fast approaching it is easy to fall into the trap of wanting to buy as much as possible for your kids. They want to have so many things, and you want to show them that you love them. You have an aching desire to purchase each item on the "wish list" they've given you. When do you say no? How do you draw the line? We need to be extra scrupulous when it comes to the media, clothing and entertainment that is being pushed on our kids. They are being told, "This is what you need if you want to fit in."
I recently read an article published by Nathan Black, a Christian Post Reporter. He based his article around the fact that Christian parents are having a hard time choosing to either please God or their kids. Parents are choosing to buy CD's, DVD's, video games, and magazines that go against their beliefs and they feel bad once they have brought it into their homes. But how do you tell your child no?
When choosing presents for your kids remember the values we all espouse in the Bible....not just what they want according to what the media is telling them they need. When buying movies, tech gadgets and video games ask yourself, "Is this healthy for their moral development?" and "Will this steal time from the family?" When buying media gifts such as phones, computers, and ipods make sure you do not allow compromise. Always give gifts such as these with strings attached (ie. Only one hour a day on the computer). Remember you are the parent, stay in charge of their media consumption.
It might seem overwhelming, but if you've been following the BattleCry movement, you know the intense crisis this generation is in. By refusing to allow the teens around you to succumb to the depravities society is throwing at them, you are taking an amazing stand. Many people won't put up such a fight, believing it's someone else's job to do so. However, it really is up to us to fight and stand up for them. They often look to us and observe the standards to which we live by. They are looking for something or someone to impact them. If they don't see us standing up for what we believe, they will look elsewhere: to friends, siblings, or even the media. Your kids don't need a cool parent who gives them everything they want; they need someone to look up to, someone with Godly character and firm convictions.
This generation needs to know what it means when we say, "It is better to give than to receive." They need to know when you forget about yourself and focus on others, you will become fulfilled, joyous and more focused on gaining eternal treasures as opposed to earthly ones. You will most likely want to take this new found joy and share it with the world. It's all about the mentality Jesus gives us in Matthew 6:19-21 to store up our treasures in heaven and not on earth. Verse 21 of this passage gives us a very vital thought, "where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Where are our hearts? Are we putting our money towards gifts that are not promoting a Godly standard? If you're "treasure" is going to things such as this, where are you putting your heart? We cannot compromise our integrity for the sake of pleasing others. God is the one we must please first.
Next we have the age old question, "What do you get for the person who has EVERYTHING!?" Well, why not bless someone else on their behalf? Teen Mania's Global Expeditions program is running a GO campaign through which you have an opportunity to give $5.00 to feed a starving person for one week, $25.00 to provide a family with medical care, or $50.00 to spread the love of Christ to 50 children who have never heard the gospel of Jesus. There are other organizations that run the same type of campaigns around the holidays. So get out there, do your research, and give to one that you know you can have an eternal impact through.
How often do we think of ourselves, our wants, our needs, our desires? This Christmas do something extreme and make this year about others and not just yourself. Be that person in a soup kitchen feeding the homeless; be the one who gives the shirt off your back; be the one who makes this Christmas about something more than just "things." Let your kids or the teens you know see that Christmas is really about the love and compassion of Jesus. May this season be a season of love and servant-hood for us and our kids.
Ron Luce is the founder of Teen Mania, one of the world's largest Christian youth organizations, which inspires, empowers, and equips teens to reject the negative influences of pop culture and embrace the "coolness" of Christ. This year, Teen Mania is rallying hundreds of thousands of teens in the BattleCry movement to save their generation. For more information, visit www.BattleCry.com.