Thinking Out Loud

December 6, 2015

With Christmas Coming, Do Your Kids Feel a Sense of Entitlement?

We never gave our kids an allowance. Not once. Working for ministry organizations and then owning a commercial ministry where we don’t pay ourselves a salary may have precluded it somewhat. But at the end of the day, I just didn’t see the point. Some kids are paid for being good. Our kids were good for nothing. [Rim-shot!] I just didn’t want them to think that we owed them anything.

We rarely bought our kids much of anything when we went to the mall. Perhaps never is a bit strong. The general presumption was that we were going to look, that the mall was a recreational destination where we would also do some comparison shopping and if the mood hit us, actually make a purchase. There was never the expectation that we would emerge carrying packages. The kids never thought that they were going to come away with increased personal possessions.

As a result, I think my children have a balanced perspective when it comes to materialism. In their mid-teens, they learned to pick up the tab for the things they needed or wanted on their own. It helped that both had paying jobs in high school. A part-time job at that age in our town is nothing short of a miracle.

Now they’re in their 20s. Both have a VISA card, and are well-versed in online banking. My youngest told me he feels guilty when he makes a large purchase. Maybe we need to tweak that attitude a little.

I felt both of them had a head-start when it came to money given the part time jobs. Some start even earlier. I wasn’t ready for the young girl who came into our store with a debit card. I think she was about nine years old. Okay, maybe ten. Not much more than that. It was one of those split-second moments of seeing something almost comedic, like when little boys would dress up in their father’s jackets and ties, back when their fathers actually wore jackets and ties. Maybe the analogy today is wearing their father’s shoes. (Not sure what the girl equivalent is; can tell me?)

The other side to consumerism is that I’ve tried to do is encourage our kids not to waste, because I believe the issue of materialism and the issue of waste go hand-in-hand. Maybe rationing the squares of toilet tissue is a bit much,* but certainly there’s no need for the second glass of the expensive treat we bought, such as Welch’s Grape Juice — the real stuff, not the Grape Cocktail their flogging now — or even a second glass of the cheaper apple juice.

Mind you, they’ve inherited that from me. I see food on the table and feel this desire for more. I had no siblings growing up, yet I seem to be in this constant competition for my fair share. At church potlucks, I tend to position myself close to the food table. I have a sense that all the other people in our congregation are people who will eat my share of the dinner if I do not guard it carefully. Not sure where I got that. But like father like son(s); the kids don’t like to miss out.

My youngest, aka Kid Too, was usually the first to take a piece of chicken or roast beef from the platter, a luxury of choice I was always taught is reserved for the cook, aka Mrs. W. He chooses well. He has taken a culinary course and knows the good pieces. The tender pieces. I always complain at that point that he just took “the best piece.” I am not trying to cause trouble. I sized up the platter before we said the blessing and already saw the piece that I considered the finest, and he took it. More competition.

At this point, I’m thinking of the title of the book by Francis Shaeffer’s daughter, Susan McAuley Schaeffer, How To Be Your Own Selfish Pig. I have been mastering this art for years, but not through actual pigging, but by ranting about the perceived pigging of everyone else.

As I write, it occurs to me that I probably wouldn’t be so obsessed about portion control if my youngest had shown more gratitude during those years. Actually, he does this a great deal, but in other areas. If he were to tell me how much he enjoys the times we purchase the more expensive grape juice, I would probably lavish him with more. He is changing with age however. When he comes home at Christmas I expect his sense of appreciation for all we do to have matured even more, though I still feel I should be saying grace with one eye open…

Then it hits me. That’s what God is waiting for. He has many good things in heaven’s storehouse which have me in mind. But he’s waiting for me to say thanks for what I have been given. As the Biblical story of the ten lepers teaches us, the thank-you rate is about 10%.


 

*I don’t actually ration toilet tissue, though I have been known to do calculations as to the number of squares that — hmmm …too much information?

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November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving to Our ‘Murican Friends

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:01 am

The First Thanksgiving

Click the image to order the IVP book.


 

Thanksgiving Cartoon


grandmas-house

The above and the one which follows were pilfered from Happy Monday at The Master’s Table blog.

turkey-and-the-farmer

…Which is a great lead-in to fall hunting season. I don’t hunt, but these words from Nashville pastor Pete Wilson resonated; maybe it’s why they resonated:

Hunting with Pete Wilson

Finally, a classic worship song with the lyrics in flowchart form; one of the many graphic innovations of InterVarsity’s 2100 Productions.

Give Thanks from 2100 Productions

November 21, 2012

Wednesday Link List

Try to have your link suggestions in by 8:00 PM EST Monday.

December 11, 2009

Entitlement and Expectations With Kids

Filed under: parenting — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 6:46 pm

We never gave our kids an allowance.   Not once.   Working for ministry organizations and then having a commercial ministry where we don’t pay ourselves a salary may have precluded it somewhat.   But at the end of the day, I just didn’t see the point.   Some kids are paid for being good.   Our kids were good for nothing.  [Rim-shot!]   I just didn’t want them to think that we owed them anything.

We never bought our kids stuff when we went to the mall.   Not as a rule, anyway.   The general presumption was that we were going to look, that the mall was a recreational destination where we would also do some comparison shopping and if the mood hit us, actually make a purchase.   There was never the expectation that we would emerge carrying packages.   The kids never thought that they were going to come away with increased personal possessions.

As a result, I think my children have a balanced perspective when it comes to materialism.   And they are quickly learning to pick up the tab for the things they need or want on their own.   It helps that both have had paying jobs.   For the youngest, having a part-time job at his age in our town is nothing short of a miracle.

With one 15 and one 18, it will be interesting to see the consumer choices they make as they move toward greater independence.   My oldest, aka Kid one, now has a VISA card, and is already doing online banking.

That doesn’t scare me as much as the girl who came in my store last month with a debit card.   I think she was about nine years old.   Okay, maybe ten.  But not much more than that.    It was one of those split-second moments of seeing something almost comedic, like when little boys would dress up in their father’s jackets and ties, back when their fathers actually wore jackets and ties.   Maybe the analogy today is wearing their father’s shoes.   (Not sure what the girl equivalent is, maybe you can tell me?)

The other thing I’ve tried to do is encourage our kids not to waste, because I believe the issue of consumption and the issue of waste go hand-in-hand.   Maybe rationing the squares of toilet tissue is a bit much,* but certainly there’s no need for the second glass of the expensive treat we bought, such as Welch’s Grape Juice — the real stuff, not the Grape Cocktail their flogging now — or even a second glass of the cheaper apple juice.

Mind you, they’ve inherited that from me.   I see food on the table and feel this desire for more. I had no siblings growing up, yet I seem to be in this constant competition for my fair share.   Not sure where I got that.   But like father like son(s); the kids don’t like to miss out.

My youngest, aka Kid Too, is usually the first to take a piece of chicken or roast beef from the platter, a luxury of choice I was always taught is reserved for the cook, aka Mrs. W.   He chooses well.   He has taken a culinary course and knows the good pieces.   The tender pieces.   I always complain at that point that he just took “the best piece.”   I am not trying to cause trouble.   I sized up the platter before we said the blessing and already saw the piece  that I considered the finest, and he took it.

At this point, I’m thinking of the title of the book by Francis Shaeffer’s daughter, Susan McAuley Schaeffer, How To Be Your Own Selfish Pig. I have been mastering this art for years, but not through actual pigging, but by ranting about the perceived pigging of everyone else.

As I write, it occurs to me that I probably wouldn’t be so obsessed about portion control if my youngest would show more gratitude.   Actually, he does this a great deal, but in other areas.   If he were to tell me how much he enjoys the times we purchase the more expensive grape juice, I would probably lavish him with more.

Then it hits me.   That’s what God is waiting for.   He has many good things in heaven’s storehouse which have me in mind.   But he’s waiting for me to say thanks for what I have been given.   As the Biblical story of the ten lepers teaches us, the thank-you rate is about 10%.

*I don’t actually ration toilet tissue, though I have been known to do calculations as to the number of squares that — hmmm …too much information?

November 23, 2008

Making a Christmas Card List and Checking It Twice

Filed under: Christianity, Christmas — Tags: , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:23 pm

christmascard2005Do you send Christmas cards?   Over the past several decades, there has been a steady decline in the giving of Christmas cards by many people.  Postal rates rise.   Busy schedules keep people from getting around to it.   E-mail substitutes for postal mail as a way of keeping in touch.

For the past five years, with a few exceptions, I think every card we received was from a business supplier.   But this year, we’ve been thinking of the many people who have helped and encouraged us this year in a variety of different ways, and decided that this is a very small thing we can do to show our appreciation, irrespective of how many cards come our way.

So again, do you do cards?   If not, why not?

October 13, 2008

Today is Canadian Thanksgiving – Give Thanks With a Grateful Heart

Filed under: family — Tags: , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 2:20 pm

My wife led worship on Sunday and reminded us that nowhere in scripture are we commanded to celebrate the Christ’s birth, but over and over again we are commanded to give thanks.   Today is Thanksgiving Day in Canada.   In the U.S. it’s at the end of November.  In some places, like Australia and New Zealand, they don’t have such a day at all.   Which is in many respects really too bad.

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Our son Aaron shows off some of his pumpkins that we grew this year.   A kind friend loaned us a large garden plot and turned us loose.   We have a new respect for farmers now.   These pumpkins were relentless in their growth, spreading out over a large row of tomatoes we thought we’d planted an ample distance away.   We also grew green peppers, squash, cherry tomatoes, radishes (which came up too fast, so we missed out on enjoying some of the first crop), hot peppers, mint, cucumbers, carrots, corn, peanuts (in Canada, no less), red onions, potatoes, yellow beans, and peas.   We discovered that nobody in the family actually likes yellow beans except for me.   Digging potatoes was probably the most interesting experience for me; growing up in the city, I had absolutely no clue!

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