*A Special Christmas Message To Parents...*
This Christmas DON'T Give Them What They WANT
The wish-lists of little children. Do you remember yours back then? Somewhere in the back of your head the Santa story had something wrong with it, but you ignored it. How can Santa come to us if we don't have a chimney? What then? ~ Ted Twietmeyer
When I was a child in the 1960s, there wasn't the barrage of toy advertising we have today about every possible gadget and toy. Saturday morning television cartoons were interspersed with toy ads. And that was all there was. Prime time weeknights was aimed solely at adults.
We didn't watch Saturday morning cartoons in our home. When that time in December came to write a wish list to Santa, I actually didn't have a clue what to ask for! I'd go find a department store catalog for ideas, and carefully write down what I saw and hope for the best. There were no guarantees.
I would get it. To this day, I still have fond memories of being stretched out on the living floor with paper, pencil and a catalog or two. A $5.00 toy to me was like the world.
It isn't because we were poor. In fact, my father was an electronics technologist at Eastman Kodak for 37 years. But my parents handled their money wisely, and taught all their children to live within their means just as they did.
My father wanted a 20 x 40 foot Esther Williams in-ground pool for a new home in 1961. He worked through the first winter in a huge hole ten feet deep with lights strung overhead. He nailed the forms together, tied the re-bar together, poured the concrete, tore the forms down and started over again day after day. He did this to save money, instead of paying a fortune to have it done. He gave so much to my family without ever complaining a word.
When I reached 18, my father taught me a rule about credit cards. He said, "Son, don't buy anything at all with them that you won't be able to pay off in 30 days. That prevents being charged interest." I've lived with that credo to this day. And he did to he carried Diner's Club, Am-Ex and gas cards in his wallet until the day he left this life, with only a small balance of a few hundred dollars total.
So what has happened to our world as we know it? In the span of just 40 years, families escalated from a $50 Christmas to $3,000+ Christmas. Parents think nothing of buying their son or daughter a complete computer system, or a $200 cell phone or Blackberry.
To jump from $50 to $3,000+ says something else is wrong. This is far outside the pace of inflation. So what has happened?
More is not always better. In fact, less is. My wife and I have been through hardships that few can grasp, but it made us stronger for it. We hope that some of it has rubbed on our children in a positive way. It's been said that it isn't what you have in life, but what you do with what you have.
Keeping up with the homes, boats and toys neighbors have or your children's friends have is always a dead end. It's a counterproductive effort which today's couples just don't seem to understand. And the end result of such foolish work is usually bankruptcy. So is the wasted of effort of "staying in fashion."
Those who don't engage in such stupidity will be pleasantly rewarded one day. And the immediate benefits? No fear of big January bills in the mail. Who in their right mind would want to start out another new year with whopping credit card bills?
So, what about not giving children what they want? They may even be bold enough to demand what they want from you on Christmas morning. Do not give in no matter what.
If your children are like this, ask yourself this: Did I really teach them the true meaning and purpose of exchanging gifts?
It isn't what the gift is, but the thought behind it that truly counts. Humble your children this year - it's extremely important for their spiritual growth.
Every gift should be a symbol of love, not artificial buying power. Every gift quickly wears out and will be thrown awaybut love is forever.
The older your parents are, the more difficult it is to buy for them. So what did my father always ask for when I asked him what he wanted?
"Brown cotton socks, size 12." Year after year after year. It took me years to realize that he said that to ease the financial burden of Christmas on my family, but that was never said or implied.
I dedicate this message to you Dad... You were always there for me, and taught me more than you'll ever know. I dearly miss you... Ted
Ted Twietmeyer - December 6, 2008 - source Rense