Friday, December 9, 2011

We’re going to disappoint our kids this Christmas.

I’ve been hearing about it for over a year.  iPods, iPods, iPods.  They vowed to save up for them.  They wanted them for their birthdays.  They wanted us to search Craigslist for cheap ones with cracked screens.  Their devotion to getting iPod touches has been almost single-minded, even usurping the role of cell phone at the top of their longings and desires.  When we got my husband an iPad, and everyone found out firsthand how flawlessly Apple technology operates, and how truly addictive Angrybirds is, it amplified their desires to a new level of intensity.

In planning our Christmas giving, we got sucked in.  We debated the merits of iPods vs. ghetto-pads; we considered Nooks and Kindles.  We weighed the potential reading minutes against the potential gaming minutes.  We considered getting them one to share, but I wasn’t interested in officiating time of possession.  We were at the cusp of making a major outlay for technology, granting our kids’ biggest wish.

Then they started bickering.  First it was over socks.  Despite the fact that each girl has a drawer that is overflowing with socks, I was charmed by the goofy Christmas socks at Dollar Tree and bought them each two pair that they could mix and match.  The next morning, they were going at each other hatefully over the stupid socks, because they couldn’t come to an agreement on who got which of the FOUR PAIRS.  Later, they raised the same ruckus over who got to wear the pink mittens, despite the bin full of available options.  Shortly into the afternoon, they were fighting over space in the minivan.  We were FOUR people, riding in a vehicle designed to seat SEVEN.

My kids already have DS’s.  They already have a portable DVD player for road trips.  They already have a room all their own.  They already have a closet full of clothes.  They have a huge collection of Barbies, of Our Generation dolls, of Galactic Heroes, of dress up gowns, etc, etc.  But over the last few weeks, every adult who cares about them, myself included, has opened at least one conversation with, “what are you going to ask for this Christmas?”  It has led my children to believe that their self-centered, materialistic desires actually matter to the overall functioning of the social order and that, somehow, Jesus came to earth, purely to occasion their own wish-fulfillment.

I am back at square one.  I want my kids to have a fun, memorable Christmas.  Like everyone else, I don’t want their gift opening to be a disappointment.  I wonder what kind of role model I’ve been for them, that they would display such repulsive behavior.  Let’s face it, I’m disappointed, too.  I want to make them happy, but I also want to be a good mom, and I’m afraid that this Christmas, I’m not going to be able to do both.  Character and gratitude last longer than electronics anyway, right?  Wish me luck.

As bad as you are, you still know how to give good gifts to your children. But your heavenly Father is even more ready to give the Holy Spirit to anyone who asks. Luke 11:13

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