Monday, December 1, 2008

Just Say No

On the radio this morning Brant Hansen was talking about some national parents' group that is trying to organize a protest against toy companies to get them to stop advertising until after the holidays. The parents are saying that all the commercials are making their kids want stuff they can't afford, and the parents don't want to have to explain to their kids that they don't have the money.

Brant's response, and I think it was a good one, was basically that "It's a good thing to explain to your kids that you can't afford everything."

He was kind of exasperated that parents would resort to protesting businesses advertising simply because they're too ________ (lazy? scared? weak? embarrassed?) to tell their kids money doesn't grow on trees. "Are you trying to get elected?" he said.


I know it's never fun to tell your kids they can't have something they want. Because we love our kids and want them to be happy. But because we love our kids and want them to be happy we should explain to them where money comes from, that it is finite, and that, above all, getting everything you want isn't the source of happiness anyway. Having this conversation these parents want to avoid is a prime catalyst for training our kids to think more selflessly and less consumeristically and to exercise moderation and self-control.

I ain't praying for no depression or nothin' (;-), but I do think hard(er) economic times can be fertile ground for cultivating less consumerism in the church.


Greg Steward said...

The basic message of most commercials is "You can't be happy unless you have this product," which is a lie. So message number one for kids is "Most commercials are lying to you."

That's why I don't let my kids watch TV shows with commercials. If there is something we must watch, we can either tape it (and zip past the commercials) or blank the screen and mute the sound. We used to just mute the sound, but when I heard the cry, "I want that," I realized that muting wasn't enough.

mcdaniel clan said...

hopefully you'll catch this comment...i enjoyed your post...i was listening to Shane Claiborne recently and he was talking about the Amish explaining their way of life to their children. for example, when their children someday ask, "why don't we drive cars?" they talk about their faith and their principles.

i wonder, will i tell my daughter she can't have everything because it's a matter of faith? i.e. God doesn't want us to have everything. it's not good for us to be greedy. or, will i simply tell my daughter we can't afford it because daddy is a pastor and doesn't make a ton of money?!!!!