Friday, July 16, 2010

Mom, what are we gonna do for fun today?

I'm going to take you someplace special in my next post. I think it might amaze you, if you're anything like me.

Before I can take you there, I need to give a little background. In my last post, I wrote about a cool place we went, and my friend Betty from Paraguay left this comment: "I'm always amazed at how much there is for children to have fun in your country. They are very fortunate."

I e-mailed her back and said, "You are not kidding! It's a real problem!"

It sounded odd to me to be saying that to her. Maybe even a little ungrateful. But this is the point. Our kids are so bombarded with entertainment that their expectations are outrageous, and they have insatiable appetites for more. They could never comprehend just how fortunate they are. Rather than thanking us, relishing the moment and basking in sweet contentment, they are asking what's next.

My kids. And we are parents who saw this coming early on. Who have been within an hour of Orlando numerous times and spent a grand total of one day at a theme park. Who avoided Chuck E. Cheese at all cost until the first birthday invitation came. Who never told our kids you could put coins in those little merry go rounds at WalMart until some other kid came along and let ours in on their ride. Until then they were perfectly happy just to sit on the little animals. We try so hard not to over-entertain. But the cat is out of the bag. And our kids are at risk of losing the opportunity to be content.

Now in fairness, if you know my kids, you would probably tell me I don't have a lot to worry about. They are sweet, and don't claim to be bored all that often. One would like to be on the go and out "doing fun things" more than the other. They don't expect to be taken frequently to expensive places. Honestly, there are more than enough things to do for free. They're truly good kids. But it seems that the more we do, the more they want.

This would be a sad thing for anyone. But as Christian parents, we have learned firsthand that Christ is our treasure, the fulfillment of our deepest longings. Both of us have reached the end of our ropes and found him there. We want our kids to seek him above all else and find him, HIM in all his glory! But oh, he has a lot of immediate, tangible, yet terribly inferior competition.

I want to know, do you battle oversized expectations in your kids? Have you had any success with keeping it simple and helping them to be more easily satisfied? If so, what's your secret?

I have a courageous friend who has taken drastic measures, in part to try to accomplish this very thing. I will introduce you to her soon!


Betty said...

I didn´t know I´d stir such emotion with my comment. :) I didn´t mean it in a bad sense though. And I do believe that you know the worth of these "entertainments" and that knowing Christ first should bring us the fulfillment we all desire. In a way I´m glad our kids here are not "offered" as many entertainments (and it´s a big reason we moved here), but in others I feel they are missing out. It´s hard to find a balance. I think you´re doing a good job with your kids Tracy!

Skeller said...

Were we separated at birth? ;-)

Likewise, we didn't feed the Walmart machines; we avoid Chuckie like the plague; live 40 minutes from D-land and have only been once.

My boys don't beg to go places to be entertained (in fact, usually there is much grumbling when we head to the beach or out on a roadtrip). But. (and it's a huge but...) They all desire more computer/Nintendo/X-box time. And while I understand this (sorta), I find it troubling.

Looking forward to reading more. You always have such beautiful tidbits (and bigbits!) of wisdom here.

Joy said...

I can't wait to meet your friend. My girls don't have huge expectations I don't think. Maybe they do, but I ignore them. I was just thinking about this the other day as I was looking thru a fb friends pictures w her kids. I tell you she doesn't miss one event/concert within a 100 mile radius. I always wonder if I should be more energetic and give mine all these experiences. Then I think naaa. It's hard when you compare yourself to the overdoers then you feel guilty even with the ones who under do. I guess I'm just trying to strike the balance.
Boy I'm with you on the Chuck e cheese. Hate that place. I think every kid should experience Disney at least once. But I doubt I would be a season ticket holder if I lived near it.
Good post Tracy. Get the ole thinker thinking.

Jen said...

I haven't reached the full blow of wanting from my kids yet. Yes we've been to Chuck e cheese and so far they know that it's not going to happen every day. I hope that when they do reach this point of wanting more and more that it is focused and that they will appreciate it. I don't know how I'll accomplish this yet. One day at a time, right.

stefanie said...

We told our girls that the ice cream truck was the 'free music truck'. They danced for years. I kind of feel bad for lying to them now that they know. They have forgiven us though.

When my kids told me they were bored, I said I wasn't responsible for their fun. They quit telling me they were bored a long time ago, and they are pretty good at finding stuff to do. That said, they spent (spend) a lot more time in front of the tv than I ever did.

I guess we are all looking for balance.

Life with Kaishon said...

This made me think.
I do try to do wonderful and fun things with the kids every opportunity I can. I do it because I know that life is short, we can not expect tomorrow, and above all, I want them to have happy childhoods.

At the same time, I do want them to be content and grateful for the special things we do. I will pray with them tomorrow before we begin our day about just this. Thank you : )