Mom Vs Stuff
We have moved twice this year, both of which were giant moves. The first was 10 hours away from our family and friends and the second was another 8 hours further south. I have been blessed with six children and with that blessing comes STUFF…LOT’S and LOT’S of STUFF!
Our first move we gave away almost half of all the kids STUFF. We just got settled in our new home (which I love by the way) and again before we moved we gave away SO MUCH STUFF. Where does it come from? How does it accumulate?
My kids are like most other kids in America. I don’t feel like they are spoiled or have to have the next thing and yet still we are surrounded by STUFF!
During this move I felt conviction over our accumulation of STUFF. How many stuffed animals does one child really need? STUFF does not define you nor does it define me, my family, and especially my children. They are awesome with or with out all that STUFF.
Instead of owning our STUFF we have allowed our STUFF to own us. We have become slaves to our things allowing our identities to be defined by our homes, our vehicles, our clothes, our STUFF. Then we have our children that are learning about STUFF from us. We feel guilty we buy them STUFF. They are having a hard time at school or with friends… look here’s more STUFF! We are creating a world where STUFF is more important than people, character, or relationship. How many parents buy STUFF to make up for all the time spent away from home?
This mom is fed up! No longer will STUFF define my children or me.
My husband and I decided this year that we are not giving presents for Christmas this year for our children… but we are giving experiences; for example a weekend camping trip, a day trip to an island close by, things like that.
Christmas morning they will each be receiving a bike (which is part of an experience) and 12 well thought out experiences that will happen through the next year. We made this decision a couple weeks ago and I felt full of confidence that we were shifting their perspective from STUFF to what matters- time together. Then Anna, my 7 year old, and I went to Target she showed me at least ten different things she wanted for Christmas.
Quickly, I felt guilt washing over me.
Can I really not get her a bunch of STUFF for Christmas?
What kind of parent will that make me? Will I scar her forever? Will they revolt against us Christmas morning throwing their well thought out promise of experiences into the garbage?
After I calmed down and came to my senses I realized that I was being a good parent by showing my children a different perspective. For 2016 we have decided to tackle consumerism and entitlement in our family. Through all our conversations and prayer, we have realized that it is going to be much harder on us than them. Don’t you love how God always turns it back to you and your heart? You see with the move we thought the problem was with our kids and their need for STUFF… how wrong we were. Our kids have so much stuff because we have wrapped our identity as parents in with our ability to give them STUFF. This isn’t about needs. It’s about showing them love through STUFF, it’s about making us feel better by buying them STUFF, it’s about measuring our standards of parenting by the STUFF we can get them.
As I am writing this I am thinking about God in Heaven looking at us and shaking His head. His desire is for us to have relationship with Him and people, not STUFF. Real relationships where time is the best gift you can give. This Christmas season give the gift of time. Be present and mindful during family gatherings. Spend time with your children. Enjoy this season together and let the STUFF just be STUFF with no real value or importance.
Father I thank you for the revelation of how STUFF can distract us from You, from each other, and from what’s most important valuing relationships. Help us shift our focus this year from STUFF to You and the people we love!