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Joined: 2010/12/7
Posts: 1300
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11

 "You Have Too Many Children to Give Them What They Need" by Kelly Crawford

"Somewhere along the line, we created an imaginary set of rules about what kids need for healthy development and if you’ll listen closely, you’ll hear it: “To love my children is to buy them things.” Suffice it to say, if love equals providing material comforts, American children are the most well-loved children in the world. Ironically, they also suffer the most from narcissism, ingratitude, and a grandiose sense of entitlement.

Those are the children we created attempting to “give them what they need.” We said, essentially, though no parent would admit it, “Let me make you the center of the universe. Let my love translate into money, my affection into recreation, and let me, above all else, make sure you have everything and every experience you want so you’ll know how much I care about you.”

The disaster is that children want things, but it’s not what they need, and many parents aren’t smart enough to know the difference.

I’ve been asked, outright, how I could possibly give each child “what they need” since I have far more children than the average family. But the question I ask is, “What do you mean by ‘what they need?’ ” At first I assume they’re asking how I have enough time to spend with all my children, to know them and assess their individual needs.

But usually the people who ask me such questions have two parents working outside the home and their children are in school. With homework and school functions considered, that means parents and children are spending an average of (studies indicate) 36 minutes during a weekday together, and 7 out of 10 admit that time is mostly spent watching t.v.

Can this parent really be asking me if I have enough energy and time to go around for my 10 children? At this point, I realize their experience grossly skews their perception. I have far more children, true. But we are not scattered a whole bunch during the day. We don’t spend a lot of time watching t.v. We eat every meal together every day. I talk to each of my children, individually, every day. We work together, cook together, think and talk together. We’ve chosen this life, to the exclusion of other things. Ask me about those. But not about how my children don’t get enough of me.

“They do not need more things. More things do not better children make.”

Or is the question really not so concerned with time and love? It does, after all, discredit the benefit of sibling love and attention and a shared responsibility of household duties which lightens everyone’s load and affords us more time. Is the question veiled in concern that my children won’t all get cars at 16? Or that we won’t be paying for their college?

Here’s what children need, whether you have 1 or 20. They need you to slow down. They need your time, your face, your voice, your hugs, your explanations about life. They need to know you are willing to sacrifice even some material comforts in order to be with them as much as you can. They need you to walk with them, laugh with them, play games with them and read to them. More than anything, they need you to disciple them by giving them practical wisdom as they encounter choices all throughout the day. They need a family knit together by simplicity and time.

They do not need more things. More things do not better children make. More vacations do not make them better children. More entertainment, more gadgets, more clothes or more toys do not bolster their success in life.

The god of consumerism hates children because “too many children” curb our spending. Should we be surprised that God’s ideas are at enmity with the world’s? He told us it would be so.

I grieve for a generation of parents whose intentions have been tragically misinformed. I grieve for a generation of children who are being sold a bill of goods that is destroying them and us.

As I see it, having “too many children” has provided a good and necessary protection in our lives from things to which we would naturally gravitate. In my life, having too many children is what allows me to give them exactly what they need."

 2014/7/30 12:05Profile

Joined: 2009/11/7
Posts: 1482

 Re: "You Have Too Many Children to Give Them What They Need" by Kelly Crawf

Thanks for posting this followthelamb. I was blessed with a home similar to this growing up though there was a time when both my parents became really busy and the home suffered (ironically when we had more money). When I was younger, I remember thinking that I was content with what we had, and it was enough and good, God always gave us more than we needed and my mom would tell us about His marvelous provisions. However, after I moved out of the house, I learned that covetousness had to be rooted out of me too and there was a certain amount of pride linked to the separateness of being in this type of family I had to divorce myself from too. I know that my parents labored, prayed and loved us through this upbringing because they wanted to see as they said "a blessing to the third generation".

Regarding things, I absolutely agree. I remember my friends getting oodles of gifts at Christmas including all the latest toys. We were blessed with some very nice things too and much more than I probably could consider for what The Lord had provided for our family. We were blessed with time off together as a family during vacations doing things like camping or staying at friend's cabin or even driving across the country to visit relatives. I remember being wowed at what some of my relatives had or even their "up-to-date" attitude.

I know you and Greg have commited to raise your family in a manner like the article describes for the glory of God. Blessings on you and I pray the Spirit provides checks for you as His beloveds when your hearts or minds turn aside to vain glory.

Grace and peace dear sister in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 2014/7/30 13:24Profile

Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7497

 Re: "You Have Too Many Children to Give Them What They Need" by Kelly Crawf

Good article.

Thanks! Brandy, for posting this.

Sandra Miller

 2014/7/31 23:30Profile

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