Define Necessity

  Have you read the Bernstein Bear’s Book called “The Greedy Gimmies”? 

Every family should own this book, so it can be pulled out and referenced to our kids.

 America has a BAD, BAD case, of the Greedy Gimmies.

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  This selfish need for stuff……for more, more, more.  Overflowing closets, toy baskets and towering garage sale piles prove it.  How about Christmas trees with gifts so stuffed below it, that it threatens to tip over? 

  Couldn’t that money be better spent on someone who struggles DAILY to feed their family?  To someone across the world who doesn’t have the privilege of clean water at their disposal? 

  We are SPOILED ROTTEN and we are blind to it.  Cupboards full of food and clean running water, soft beds and shoes on our feet are a PRIVILEGE and we should be thankful to have our daily needs met so easily.  Somewhere across the world a Mommy longs for food for her children’s growling tummies, or water from a source other than the muddy stream, and you want another knick knack for your shelf? A bigger TV?  A softer mattress?  $170 Ugg boots?

   There are so many GREAT options out there for Gracious Gift Giving:

  Like Samaritans Purse, who sends out a WONDERFUL catalog each year with items like: “Feed A Hungry Baby for A Week – $9” or “Buy a Family A Months Worth of Milk- $18” .  I wrote about it last year:  Check it out here.  

  You can purchase these items and many, many more, in honor of “Aunt Sue” or “Uncle Jim”, and Samaritans Purse sends a lovely card, so they know just what your gift to them did for a family in need.  A gift like that keeps on giving the entire year, long after our Christmas trees are tucked away, our knick-knacks put up on the shelf.

  How about using Christmas as a Season of Compassion and adopting a child from Compassion International? 

 We are big believers in their ministry, and sponsor 2 children each month from Uganda.  We’ve sponsored Bampata John for 8 years now, and Nahabwe Deborah for 5ish.

Bampata John

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Do you know how good it was, for my kids to realize that the Birthday money we sent John, went to buy him a BED?  That the Christmas money we sent, bought his family a COW?  Life changing items to his family who needs so much.

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   So what does this post title mean: “Define Necessity”?

  Saying “No” to our kids is a hard thing to ask a parent to do, but since when does purchasing things equal happy kids?

  IT DOESN’T.

  Now, don’t get mad at me here for coming down on you, I’m totally talking to myself in this post too.  Our toy closet is full!  Even though we don’t buy toys just because we step foot in Walmart, it has still slowly filled up.  We don’t buy 20 gifts for each kid at Christmas; they get 3 from us, just like Jesus received from the 3 wise men.  (This helps limit our spending, as well as their need for MORE.)  Yet, the toy closet is so full it makes me angry every time I step foot in there. 

  I’d rather have 1 toy my children can play with 7 different ways, than 7 different toys that can only be played with one way.

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We live in a See It, Want It, Buy It generation. 

  Commercials flash across the screen, designed to grab our children’s attention and create a need in them.  It’s a trick, and I won’t fall for it.  We rarely watch TV, but when we do, you better believe the commercials get muted and kids sent off to brush teeth or something. I won’t have it, it makes me too mad to watch them invade my home with the intent of screaming:

 “BUY MY PRODUCT, you know you WANT too!!!!!!!!! You NEEEEED it.”

  What are we doing to protect our children from this nasty cycle of “Stuff”? 

What are we doing to teach them to SAVE their dollars and work hard for what they want, rather than watching mommy pull out her credit card once again to get them what they “HAVE to have”?

In a time of a low economy, job losses, recession and foreclosures, we need to teach our children to appreciate what they ALREADY have!  To play creatively with toys that don’t whir and spin, sing and move.  What happened to good ol’ fashion fun under a sheet-covered dining room table?  Or basic wooden blocks to create castles and entire towns out of?  What about a trunk of old clothes and shoes, just begging for an afternoon tea party in full costume?

Let’s get creative, and you don’t need new toys to do it!  Let’s finger paint with pudding.  Let’s bathe dolls or float boats in a kitchen sink chock full of bubbles.  Let’s get out a bowl of water and a paint brush and paint the bricks out front.  Let’s give those well-worn books another read.  Let’s make shopping trips a rare treat, not the norm.  Let’s use gift buying as a way to bless others or reward a month-long “Job Well Done”, or when a child finishes filling their chore chart with stickers, not to quiet a fit in the middle of Target.

   Don’t we want our kids to learn to be content as they grow up?  Are we creating a generation of Greedy Gimmie Kids who will enter the work world expecting to have all their demands met when they stamp their foot?

YES.  And it’s time to stop. 

  There is nothing wrong with buying a few Christmas gifts for your children.  It’s the taking it OVERBOARD that is killing us!

  Have you ever watched a child surrounded by 12 new toys?  They can’t focus or enjoy one, too distracted by the other, then the other, then the other, never really enjoying them to their full potential. 

  Let’s teach our kids first to GIVE rather than receive, then, let’s limit what we choose to give them in order to teach them to appreciate what they have.  Let’s reach out to a family in need to make our children aware of how much harder someone has it out there.  How blessed we are to have full tummies and soft beds.

  Let’s stop the Greedy Gimmies in their tracks……….let’s get our kids back to the basics. 

Let’s

Define necessity

Starting now.

It’s past time…..

~T

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