Monday, December 22, 2008

The Best Gift this Year

Once again the holidays are here and parents are wondering if saying no to kids the best gift you can give them. If you are one of them, consider this:

“According to the Center for a New American Dream…two thirds of parents say their kids define their self worth in terms of possessions, half say their kids prefer to go to a shopping mall than to go hiking or on a family outing; and a majority admit to buying their children products they disapprove of—products that may even be bad for them—because the kids said they needed’ the items to fit in with their friends (Gibbs par. 11).” --TIME Magazine
Your child is not a prince or a princess, regardless of what time of year it is. If they were, then they'd probably be able to vote. If you want children to learn to be themselves, they're going to have to undergo some civil disobedience. The holidays present an opportunity to either give in and go after the high ticket items or restrain and use it as a lesson in gratitude.

But think about it. What sense does it make to once a year during the holidays all of a sudden decide to "listen" to the youth when they say they want something and then deprive them that respect every other time? All year long they've been repressed, how is buying them the latest high ticket item going to make it all better?

The fact is, you can't uplift youth by selling your better wisdom out to commercialism. No other time of year better represents how repressed kids are than the holidays. The repression they've endured throughout the year suddenly turns into rampant spoiling, simply because that has become the modality of profit exploitation. "So long as they get what they want, no harm..."

I believe this is the time of year to teach children a thing or two about civil disobedience. The choice this year is not between saying yes and giving in to their desires or saying no and choosing not to spoil them only because you'd rather not foot the bill. Kids are far more intelligent than that. The best gift you could give your kids this year is to teach them about the commercial exploitation itself. They will begin (as anyone would) at pulling apart every choice they can't choose to make, especially around this time of year.

Once you have them questioning, then you have them exploring. Of course it is human for them to want the material possessions that crowd the aisles, and no doubt they'll use the teachings of civil disobedience in order to resist their parent's supposed "better interests" and get the gifts they desire. However, just as anyone when given the power, they need to be told how to control it so that it doesn't lead to their misfortune or unhappiness. This has nothing to do with "child" and has everything to do with giving a person power, and teaching them how best to maintain it.
That is crutial to our resolve.

Give your kids the power this year. Make your presence be the "present."

1 comment:

  1. Funny, I'm using this Christmas to make my parents buy me the youth liberation books I wanted.