The other day I flipped through the Christmas ads in the newspaper, and noticed a very obvious theme: entertainment. Televisions are on sale. Blu-ray players are on sale. DVDs are $1. Even the advertised toys all relate to movies or TV shows in some way. Have you noticed how much Frozen merchandise is on sale this year?
Here’s the problem. All of us want our kids to become great adults. We want them to be successful in their jobs, have great families, and continue the legacy of faith in Christ to our grandchildren and beyond. And yet, instead of buying them Christmas presents that promote their future, we often buy them Christmas presents that distract them from their future.
Think about it. Will watching movies or TV shows help our kids become successful? No. In fact, as we heard on a broadcast with Dr. Ben Carson earlier this year, his mom turned off the TV and made him read books instead. That one decision by his mom, is one of the main factors that he looks back on as a catalyst for him becoming the most successful pediatric neurosurgeon in the world. And just in case you’re wondering, that was a very unpopular decision at first. His brother and he were completely against the idea of limiting TV time, and having to write book reports instead. I bet your kids might react similarly, at first.
What about a toy from the movie Frozen? Will that help your children use their imagination? Not really. They will simply reenact what they saw in the movie. Instead of using their imagination to create a new world around the toy they unwrap at Christmas time, they simply place the Frozen toy in the world that Disney created. How does that help foster their imagination?
Here’s the point. When you buy Christmas presents this year, think about your kids future. How do you want your kids to turn out? Do you want them to be smart or stupid? Do you want them to be successful or unsuccessful? Do you want them to have a strong imagination or to lack creativity? Do you want them to follow Christ or follow Olaf? (Olaf is the snowman from Frozen)
In a program that we aired a few months ago, Andy Andrews said it well: “You don’t want to raise great kids. You want to raise kids who become great adults.” Don’t miss out on an opportunity to use Christmas time as an intentional opportunity to train up great adults. Buy some books instead of movies. Buy a paint canvass instead of a TV or blu-ray player. Buy a toy that is going to foster your child’s creativity instead of a toy that will continue reinforcing a world created by Disney or Dreamworks. Be intentional with your gift giving, don’t simply react to whatever your kids put on their lists.
Even Christmas presents are an opportunity to, “Train up a child in the way that he should go…” (Proverbs 22:6) Don’t miss that opportunity!