I always hear people who spoil their children with endless materialistic things using the excuse that they are just giving them what they themselves never had as children. I bet some of you have heard it said yourselves ”Oh I’m going to work hard and give my child the big dream house, the great birthday parties, the wonderful education for the favoured few, the biggest car when they turn sixteen and all the good life and things I never had as a child. ”
These people’s intentions are really founded on goodness but they are misguided. When looked at closely, their idea that giving kids materialistic stuff and a good education are easily seen more as a barren fig tree that bears no fruit.There really is no light at the end of the tunnel when stuck in that mode of life.
Ok ok ok, I hear you saying, ”what’s wrong with giving kids a good education and nice birthday parties?” Well…there is nothing wrong with it except only when it’s one sided and you don’t educate their hearts and in what manner they should approach the material world. The danger of avariciousness lurks nearby all the time and if we are not careful we get sucked into it like a fly unawares of the spiders web. We, out of blindness, get caught and spun by the world into a vice that we really can not escape from.
As parents we should be giving our children what we never had growing up first and foremost and that is the Gospel. It is the practice of Our Catholic faith that we need to give our children. And in order to do this, just like we work and sweat hard for the big house, we should work and shed sweat in the pursuit of living the Gospel message of Christ. To be a living breathing beacon of light that our children can look up to as a role model is what they need.
Giving them only materialistic things we ourselves never had and spoiling them is like handing them a bowl with no food in it to eat. Because in truth, an education, house and comfort only teach us how to make a living, but they do not teach us how to live and reach heaven. They are not the food that gives us ”eternal” life. Have you ever seen a house or Porsche car follow a hearse? I’ve yet to see that happen.
There are rich people out there who have obtained the good education and the life of comfort but they are miserable. And yes there are miserable poor people too. But why are they both miserable? because one ( the rich ) is always wanting more and the other ( poor ) is always anxious to get rich, but they are both miserable because they lack something greater and this is Jesus Christ. They lack a relationship with Christ.
So we may need the big house for a big family, the family vehicle to get us from A to B or put money away for our childrens education in order that they live an appropriate life. But an education in Love of Christ and to practice the Gospel must precede all those. Lets face it…only Christ can get us from A to B in this world and the next. Without him we are nothing and everything here is passing away. As I mentioned before, a car wont follow your hearse, nor will your education, nor will your big dream house and professional career.
But I am always asking myself this question. can the desire for wealth and living the Gospel really live side by side? Surely St.Mary and St.Joseph just lived the simple life and stuck with what they had? Can we not do the same?
Finally, as parents who will one day face God, we will be examined, not on how much we ”knew”… but on how much we ”loved”.