By Amanda Griffin Jacob
Here we are on Christmas Eve, and it is the perfect time to reflect on the true meaning and intentions of Christmas. These days, Christmas seems to be all about what you get and what events you go to. Given the current state of the world, it doesn’t feel quite right. As parents, I think it is our utmost responsibility to teach our children about the beauty of giving rather than receiving. Everyone echoes this sentiment, but I don’t generally see much being done in the way of instilling these values in our kids. Nowadays, children are more entitled than ever and this is through no fault of their own. We are the ones setting this precedent. Last year, I decided that we would only give our kids two presents. One from us, one from Santa and plus the siblings would also be able to give and receive gifts from each other. Next year, I’m thinking about a three-present-limit for each child, meaning no more gifts from relatives, classmates, or friends. It may seem a bit extreme but I look at the reactions of my children and the amount of time they spend on each toy that they receive. I can see that there’s not much appreciation and respect there simply because they’re getting and have too much. I want them to really value, dream, save up, or work for things rather than have a list each year which gets fulfilled simply because they asked for it. In this era of self-gratification and brash excess, we have to work harder as parents to prevent this outlook. We need to nurture thankful children who will grow into moral and industrious people. I truly believe that this over-coddling of children has indirectly led the world to where it is today. People expect handouts, benefits, and favors without the need to put in hard work. As a result, there are millions of unhappy people around the world who are set on blaming everyone other than themselves and refusing to take any responsibility for their own lives. But I digress, that’s a whole other sad subject that will have to be addressed in a different article.
One of my fears is raising a spoiled child who will grow into a spoiled adult. I want my children to be decent, contributing members of the world. With hope to leave it a better place than they found it. As a mother, we have such incredible power to share life lessons and experiences with our little ones, to instill values, and to help mold them into caring participants of society. I am saddened by the promotion of extreme consumerism, most especially during Christmas. I want my children to want to help others, less fortunate than themselves but instead this message is getting swallowed up in the commercialism of the season. This year, I asked my son to consider distributing meals to streetchildren in lieu of giving gifts to his classmates. These meals for these children would be his gifts to his friends. Kieran, painstakingly hand wrote 22 Christmas cards for his classmates explaining his mission. No small feat for a six-year-old that is still practicing his cursive. Out of 22 children, I only heard from one mother who was so moved by the thought. I was quite shocked that no one else reached out. I feel that this is a commentary on the current state of society. Everyone seems too busy to really care, too involved in their own lives. I could be wrong but that was my take on the situation. If the parents can’t be bothered to explain to their kids, how will the kids ever really learn?
It all starts at home and every one of us has the responsibility to our children to help them develop into the best individuals they can be. It is now more important than ever.
After Christmas, Kieran, Kalon, and I will go and give meals to the kids in the hopes to inspire more of their friends and classmates, (and of course themselves) to really think about the true meaning of Christmas. Wishing you all a very special Merry Christmas this year! With all the tragedies, political unrest, and uncertainty enveloping the world, I hope we can all take a moment to ruminate on our blessings in life and be thankful.