Monday, April 15, 2013
Too Many Choices??
I don't have a degree in child psychology, but I have read almost every parenting book that exists on planet Earth. I know that choices are important to help our children form opinions and gain confidence. My five-year-old is not the "easiest" of my children. He is passionate and strong-willed to the degree that water is damp. He's particular and picky and thrives on "options" to make him feel in control of his little life. He can be a walking litmus test for patience, and I fail regularily.
He's inherited more than my blonde hair/blue eyes. I too feel the weight of the tyranny of choice. How can a simple trip to the grocery store for sandwich spread turn out okay when you are faced with fifty-seven grape jelly options?!? In what world is that necessary?? What if I get the reduced-sugar grape jelly and it tastes horrible? What if I'm limited to only fourteen options this trip?? What if my child chooses the wrong shoes today. . .the rebellious child on the playground to befriend. . .the wrong future spouse???
This may seem like a drastic jump in situations, but it may not be. I've been convicted and overwhelmed over the nature of my humanity and the fickleness that is bred by entitlement. This is what we, as parents are passing on to our kids as well.
It dates back to the very first household that God created, when God gave Adam and Eve everything that was good, but they didn't think it was good enough for them. Even the first man and woman felt entitled to choose what they wanted even when He had told them that choice was forbidden. They didn't need "one more option". They weren't entitled to everything. He had given them enough. He had given them Himself.
I'll be the first to admit that standing in the middle of Target clutching two Iron Man figurines and screaming, "He only needs Jesus!!" might not be the best response to feeling overwhelmed by choice.
The ugly truth is that the color of the suit DID matter to my son. At least I thought it did. In reality, he probably didn't remember which one he had wanted. The whole situation made me ask myself if I was fostering a sense of entitlement in my children, not necessarily by giving them too much, but too many choices.
Are they learning from us that Jesus is enough or are we teaching them to have a drive inside them that longs for the tree that we weren't supposed to have? When we are tempted to feel overwhelmed by first-world problems and choices, as parents we must come back to what Jesus has provided us already. We don't need a buffet. We don't need an Iron Man in every available suit color. We need "just enough" and we need to teach our children the same.
Does this resonate with you too?? Are we setting the stage for our children's desire for "more options" by giving them too many choices in life?