Like many, I spent time with various friends and families this Christmas season. I was witness to several gift-opening sessions, and found numerous similarities as well as differences in how the presents were received by the children.
In every case, parents overspent on their kids in comparison to their financial situation. That seems to be the norm, especially where there are siblings: each must get the same amount of stuff of course. Otherwise, one would feel inferior.
What I found most interesting was the relative indifference the kids showed. Some seemed to expect a ton of loot, and soon lost interest in one gift as the next was opened. Others only expected a particular type of gift, and was disappointed or even openly dismissive if the toy didn’t fit their expectations. Interestingly, the lower the families were on the economic ladder, the more the gifts seem to mean.
I’ve written before about people trying to be friends to their kids instead of parents. One of the greatest lessons a parent can provide is an appreciation for what is given. Fewer children than ever seem to have a sense of gratitude instilled into them; instead, there’s a built-in, almost genetic feeling of entitlement that has pervaded the current generation of kids, as well as many of their parents.
We gave the “Greatest Generation” that label because they survived the Great Depression and won World War Two. Each succeeding generation has had an ever-increasingly better life, and along the way have lost the ability to understand true sacrifice.
Without sacrifice, it’s hard to appreciate generosity.
That’s not limited to Christmas morning. I’ve mentioned before the lack of “sacrifice” or “duty” or “generosity” in most church sermons…except of course when it comes to tithing. I’m seeing hints of it in the form of civic duty: the volunteers who put up lights downtown, those looking to revitalize old buildings, those who gathered and distributed jackets, toys, and food for needy families this season.
Here’s hoping our entitled kids eventually notice and show some gratitude.