“Then He said to them, ‘Take heed and beware of covetousness. For a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions'” (Luke 12:15, MEV).
Obviously, no parent wants to think the worst of their children. When they develop a habit that’s not pleasing, many of us want to believe that “it’s just a phase they’re going through” and that “they will grow out of it.”
Such is the case with my son, Josh, who is about to turn 11. As with many children his age, he’s going through a stage of life where he seems to be simply consumed with materialism. In his case, he’s caught the “Lego bug.”
First it was Star Wars. Then it was Guardians of the Galaxy. Next it was Ghostbusters. And now, predictably, it is Jurassic World.
God has given Josh the gift of creativity, something for which me and his mother, my wife Patty, are very grateful. He’s built his own little Lego city in his room, and it’s quite the site. Maybe he will be an engineer some day.
We’re not going out and buying him a set every week. As a matter of fact, he often pays for his own sets from money he earns from allowance or gets from relatives.
The issue is, anything he sees on TV, he’s got to have the Lego version, and he wants it now. If he doesn’t get instant gratification, he internalizes it, gets sad and withdraws. Any of this sounding familiar, parents?
Don’t get me wrong, Joshua is a wonderful child. He’s got a huge heart and Patty and I have always referred to him as our God’s boy.” He loves hearing the scriptures and loves to pray.
It’s just that he gets on this selfish jag–especially with the Legos–and he won’t let go. He’ll talk about his birthday the day after his last one and Christmas on December 26. We’ve never encouraged selfishness or materialism, and we’ve stressed a hard-work ethic, like my parents did.
I hate labeling it as a sense of entitlement, but let’s call a spade a spade. This behavior needs to be cut off at the proverbial pass.
Don’t despair, however; there are some things you can do to help the situation:
1. Be patient. I’ve had trouble with this myself, but I’m learning. Don’t get angry with your child. It only makes it worse and makes them feel bad about themselves. Address the issue, not the child’s character.
2. Pray. Pray with your child that God will take away his or her earthly desires and that He will help your child set their minds on the things above.
3. Look up scriptures and read them to them. Here are a few: Luke 12:15; 1 John 2:16; Matthew 6:19-21; Matthew 16:26; James 4:4; Galatians 5:17.
4. Tell them the story of the rich young ruler. That should get them to thinking.
Again, it may simply be a phase that your child is going through, but if it isn’t dealt with properly, you could wind up with a 24-year-old living with a mountain of debt living in your basement because it’s the easiest way to go. I cringe at the thought.
And as I always like to say, “there is that.” God bless.
Shawn A. Akers is the online managing editor at Charisma Media. He is a published poet and published a story about Dale Earnhardt in NASCAR Chicken Soup For the Soul. You can read his blog here.