Have you been to five different toy stores in search of that present your child “must have” this year? Were you trampled in the mad rush for the latest gadget? Are you wondering what happened to the days when children were thrilled to receive a homemade rag doll and an orange for Christmas?
I have a controversial theory about Christmas consumer madness. Yes, commercials and marketing appeal to our children, but I think it may just be something more. Is it possible our children are asking for “things” to substitute for what they really want from us? Maybe they don’t know how to ask or maybe they just know the answer will be no. They have learned adults are often willing to give them plenty of stuff to compensate for not giving them what they really want. Our future business leaders have learned to work the system in their favor. And who can blame them?
My grandmother was a child-whisperer. Children loved her. Granted, it may have been partially because she could make the most awesome cinnamon buns and chocolate chip cookies ever. Mostly, it was because she was a child-whisperer. She could meet any child and within thirty seconds she would have them cooking with her and chatting away about everything.
I was blessed to have inherited the trait and you have heard my stories about children I don’t know pouring their hearts out to me within seconds of our introduction. I always wondered if there were some sort of weird scent or high pitched sound we gave off that sent children running to tell us everything.
Years ago, I overheard one of the saddest parenting conversations. A mother was telling her friend how she had instructed her daughter to stop hanging on to her, as the daughter was in middle school now and “too big” for such public displays of affection. Yes, you read that correctly. The mother told her daughter to stop hanging on to her because the daughter was too “grown-up” for such childish behavior.
Did you know that when your children take a big leap in growth, it is natural for them to crave a little regression to a previous stage? You will sometimes hear adults describe teens as, “One minute he’s making adult decisions and the next he is acting like a two year old.”
One of my favorite things I did when my daughter was young, was to start a mother-daughter book club. We met once a week during the summer, discussing the chosen book for the week. Every meeting featured crafts, games, refreshments or a field trip. The club included many of the girls in her school class and their moms.
Now I wish I had made it at least partially, if not entirely, a Bible book club. We tend to forget that the Bible is actually sixty-six separate books put together in one volume. Some books like Ruth and Esther are basically one long true story, while other books have multiple true stories within them. There is even poetry and wisdom literature.
Every congregation should have a “Miss” Bettye. If they gave out awards for uber-grandma’s, she would win. Miss Bettye loves the Lord and she will praise Him no matter the circumstances. In fact, she has been fighting cancer for several years now and I have never heard her do anything but praise the Lord.
Miss Bettye also loves everyone unconditionally. You may disappoint her, but you always see forgiveness in her eyes. You also know that she truly believes you can change for the better no matter what you have done.
The other day I had the chance to have a chat with her. We had just finished watching ten of her eleven great-grandchildren in our church’s children’s program. (Her eleventh was watching in the audience.) I know a number of people who have raised all of their children to be faithful Christians. Miss Bettye is one of the few people I have met who has all faithful children and grandchildren and is seeing her great-grandchildren raised in the same church.