Originally Posted by Mike Young December 2005
One of the things that concerns me about the Christmas season is the incredible effectiveness of marketing corporations. They do it all the time. Companies that want me to buy products for myself and others use slick strategies to convince us that there is no way we could lead a happy and fulfilling life if we don’t have some thing that we didn’t even know of 60 seconds ago. I’m not sure how they do it. Sometimes I think they know me better than I know myself.
Even if I exercise some restraint and say no, deep down I consider how pleasant life would be if only I had that thing.
After a while you would think we’d learn that the thing we get now, really won’t make us happy. Once we have it nothing changes. There is still some greater thing that would truly make us happy. Now we want this new thing. On and on the cycle goes, wanting a thing… getting a thing…. wanting a thing…. getting a thing … wanting a thing… getting a thing.
But where does it end. Is there ever a point at which we are satisfied?
Here’s another odd truth. We often get frustrated with our children when they want too much. We will chastise and even scold them for expecting too much from us. After all “We aren’t made of money!” and “Money doesn’t grow on trees!” You see the marketing executives know them very well also. What child wouldn’t want a thing-toy like the one he saw on TV? The figures were so life-like and real. The children in the commercial were having great fun. Our children know that they would be instantly happy if they could just get that same thing-toy that was on television. “Dad, All I want is that special thing-toy I told you about. That will make me happy.”
You know as well as I that that’s a trick. We’ve all had thing-toys that didn’t look at all like they did on TV. We know that it really won’t look so real. We know that it really won’t make them as happy as they think. We know that ultimately they may have more fun with the box that the thing-toy came in than the thing-toy itself.
Why is it that we can apply this sound logic to our children’s desires for thing-toys but we have trouble taking our own advice when it comes to thing-tools, thing-A/V equipment, thing-cars or thing-clothes?
Dad, let me challenge you to lead your family toward contentment during this Christmas season. The key word in that last sentence is LEAD. You must set the pace. If you want your family to be content and satisfied, you have to show them how.
They won’t learn how to be content with what they have unless you model contentment for them.
Consider these verses…
- … for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. Philippians 4:11
- But godliness with contentment is great gain. I Timothy 6:6
- Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
Men, I think it’s our responsibility to lead our families by expressing satisfaction. If we teach our children that more _______ will make them happy by our actions and speech, neither you nor they will ever be satisfied. However, if we teach them to be satisfied with what they have or even less, there will always be joy!