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!