Kids, Greed and God

Kids, Greed and God - Parenting Like HannahIt’s funny. Every year around Christmas, articles start appearing about ways to keep your child from becoming overly greedy. Personally, I have even posted some fun ideas and service projects to do with your children around the holidays. I think many of these articles are probably penned after a parent stands in the line for Santa with their antsy child while some other child reads Santa a list longer than he is tall.

What I haven’t shared with you is the dirty little secret about greed. I guess I was afraid if you found out, you would give up trying. I’m a little older and braver this year, so here it goes. You can’t banish greed from your child’s life merely be giving less presents at Christmas and birthdays and doing a service project or two during the holidays.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Convincing your child he doesn’t have a right to every toy ever made on each birthday and Christmas is probably a very good thing. Having your children serve others at Christmas is definitely a wonderful thing. But those two things alone won’t banish greed from your child’s life. (Sadly, if the present reduction thing isn’t done carefully, it can backfire and make your child even more greedy.)

Here is the entire truth. You have to battle the greed in your child’s heart throughout the year. You need to work on your child’s heart and help mold it into a serving, generous, God-loving, obedient heart. And that, my friends, can take a lot of work.

The good news is that if you and your spouse constantly model giving, serving and generosity throughout the year, you are probably not raising an incredibly greedy child anyway. If however, you rush to the mall for every sale, consistently buy things you can’t afford without going into a cycle of never-ending debt, pepper your conversations with “I wish I had/could afford” and give to others only when absolutely necessary, you are going to have to work very hard to raise a child who isn’t greedy.

You may wonder what is wrong with wanting nice things or to have what “everybody” else already has. It’s because the thinking that constantly focuses on having and obtaining things easily leads to a heart that values things above God. The greedy, self-centered person turns money and things into bright shiny idols.

Fortunately, there are so many fun things you can start doing with your children to help them develop a generous, giving, loving heart. Check under our categories box for service projects, generosity, money and character training with past posts giving lots of ideas for projects, games and other interesting ways to help mold your child’s heart.

By all means, take the time during this period between Thanksgiving and the New Year and begin working with your child on banishing greed. Then after the holidays, continue that training throughout all of next year. You may just be surprised next December at the Santa list your child creates!

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Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deuteronomy 11:18-19 NIV)