Just in time for the holidays, Christian Personal Finance has come out with a helpful article on thoughtful ways to raise non-materialistic children. As a parent I struggle to thoughtfully instruct my children in this area of their character. Here are my two cents.
Four Ways to Raise Non-Materialistic Children
- Do things together. Our culture values quality time over quantity time, but I’d like to challenge that way of thinking with the idea that a healthy family results from oodles of time just existing and interacting with one another. Kids tend to remember the little moments spent together rather than the big, expensive projects. They value years of tickles and snuggles over Disney Land. Seriously.
- Teach your kids that relationships are more important than things. When friends come to play, encourage your kids to share their toys and to delight in their siblings’ and friends’ enjoyment of their belongings.
- Teach your kids that there is a trade-off between time and stuff. When they learn that work must be completed to purchase and manage their belongings, they are quick to realize that carefully selecting their possessions is preferable to amassing piles of toys that must be bought and organized.
- Teach them to have their hope in more than earthly treasures. Matthew 6:20-21 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
We teach our children to value heavenly things because we know that earthly items are of infinitely less importance than those things that are valued by our creator. The greatest of these is to love him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-39). We do this by loving his son Jesus, whom he sent as our substitute on the cross (Galatians 2:20).
There is no “parenting guarantee” committee that can assure us that if we follow those steps our kids will turn out O.K. If there were, we’d end up shepherding little pharisees who obey every rule but whose hearts are turned to selfish pride.
We can rest assured that they are in the hands of a good God who loves them more than we are capable, and who can breathe life into their tender hearts. Amen!