Christmas and the irresponsible parent

Here’s a sure-fire recipe for parents interested in providing their children with a miserable and unfulfilling life: teach them that that acquisition of material goods is the end-all and be-all of  human existence.

Christmas seems to bring out the worst in crass commercialism, particularly among parents who see the season not as a time to remember the birth of our Savior, but as an opportunity to compete with like-minded folks about who can give their children the most.

Anyone who’s ever watched holiday season programming and witnessed children shouting “I want that!” over and over as they’re bombarded with commercials for toys and other kids’ products realizes that unbridled consumerism can easily turn the sweetest 5-year-old into a monster.

Unable or unwilling to say no and armed with credit cards, countless parents engage in an orgy of spending each year. Such parents do their children no favors by failing to teach progeny the value of a dollar.  

Karen De Costner provides an excellent commentary on this disturbing trend at De Coster writes of being at Bath & Body Works earlier this year and seeing a mother, who was with her pre-teen daughter, put a bunch of expensive lotions and fragrances on the counter.

When the clerk asked the woman for her email address, the woman replied that the purchases were for her daughter. The daughter provided the email address, and the mother paid for the purchase with a  credit card.

As the child, loot in hand, turned to leave, Ms. De Coster saw her shirt, which read:

I Love to Shop


All the Time

Sadly, this is far from an isolated example. There’s exists in society a sizable segment of consumer-oriented children who believe that accumulation is the secret to happiness.

Parents who seek to fill voids in their own lives by lavishing their children with thousands of dollars worth of gifts on Christmas and at birthdays are doing their children no favors.

They’re creating little spending machines who likely will learn the hard way that money doesn’t grow on trees and material goods can’t provide the happiness that is found through love and faith.