I absolutely love giving gifts to my children. And I think my wife and I enjoy giving to them as much or more than they enjoy the receiving.
Recently, we bought our son and daughter a new guitar and ukulele to help and encourage them to go to the next level in their talents. They’ve both begun playing in church, and are striving to improve. Our daughter has even started a YouTube channel, where she sings songs that she’s written.
And there’s something very rewarding as a parent to be able to see your children filled with joy and appreciation for what you do for them. I think it’s a wonderful reflection of the joy our Heavenly Father receives when we show our appreciation to Him for all the gifts He freely gives us.
Yet giving gifts come at a cost. Not to mention the cost of raising children in general. Let’s be completely honest, it takes a lot of money and sacrifice to be able to provide for the needs of a family, as well as to provide for some of their wants.
As I look at the life our family is blessed to live, we have so much. Our children enjoy a beautiful home out in the country, a huge yard that includes many benefits. We’re able to wear nice clothes, drive reliable vehicles, and enjoy good food. And not because we’re rich, but because we’re blessed. And it brings joy to my heart to provide all of those things for our children in the best ways possible.
However, as nice as those things are, none of them are what will set our children up for success in life either personally or spiritually.
Yet, so often as parents, isn’t that what we try so hard to do – give our kids the best of everything that money can buy? We’re determined at all costs to provide our children with the best that life has to offer, or maybe the best that we never had ourselves. We don’t want them to go without anything they want, or that we feel they deserve.
But are we doing them a favor or a disservice?
Chances are that very few of us will be able to give our children everything their hearts desire, while at the same time giving them everything that really matters. In fact, often we’ll have to choose between the two. Because… what really matters? A nice house or car?… name brand clothes?… the fact that they can have everything we went without as children ourselves?
While all of those things can be good and nice to provide, should any of those things become our main priority as parents?
If we’re not careful, materialism (in the name of doing what’s best for our kids, of course) can become a driving factor in our parenting. Yet the most important things that we can ever give to our children are the things that money can never buy.
Things that cannot always be immediately seen or held. Things that can not always be taught, but must be caught. Things that come from a depth of character that goes far beyond just scratching the visible surface.
Things like an understanding of how to forgive those that hurt us, how to love those that hate us, and how to serve those that least deserve it.
Some of the greatest things you can ever give to your children are the best that money can’t buy:
- An example of a mom and dad that are together forever.
- A willingness to live life joyfully, regardless of circumstances.
- An unwavering commitment to God’s Word and God’s house.
- A spirit of unconditional love for them, no matter what.
- The ability to laugh at themselves and their mistakes.
- The value of a good work ethic and the value of a dollar.
- An attitude of optimism that sees the best in others, rather than one of criticism and complaint.
- I suppose that this list could go on and on…
Someone once wisely noted that “the most important things in life aren’t things.” And how right they were.
I love nice things, and I love providing nice things for my family, as I’m sure you do yours. But may the things that we prioritize as a family, and the way we live our lives, give our children proof that we truly believe in the “things” that matter most. You know… those things that are the best that money can’t buy.