The Price of Privilege
I never remember my dad reading the newspaper as a child. It wasn't until I was older (and could stay up later) that I would see my dad lay down on the couch to read the paper. Why is this significant to me? Well, for me it symbolizes the importance that my dad placed on spending time with me and my brother.
My dad was home every day at 5:30 for dinner. Afterward, he quickly changed clothes and spent time with us (playing, reading, doing family devotions) until bedtime. I was blessed to grow up knowing that I was important enough to be a priority for my dad. He would have rather played with me than read his paper or watch TV.
My mom also made purposeful decisions to invest in her children. She has shared with me how she specifically chose to be a teacher so that she could maximize time spent with us in the afternoon and summers. I will forever cherish the many summer adventures that we shared.
In addition, my parents really included us in their activities, whether through their work or church activities. My brother and I had the opportunity to walk beside them and learn. This is how God designed parenthood and child training--through relationship and connecting.
You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between you eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise. --Deuteronomy 11:18-19As I look around our world, I am rather alarmed at the lack of priority placed on parenthood and family. I recently read a book called The Price of Privilege by Madeline Levine, a clinical psychologist. She pointed out some very interesting developments in the demographics of her clientele. More and more, her "typical" teen client comes from wealthy and upper middle class families. These teens have been given everything, and many are very gifted and intelligent. They should be happy, right?
As a society, we must understand that children do not need "stuff" - they need their parents. Rather than a new ball glove, they want their dads to watch them play. Instead of gadgets, they want time with their parents. Because they are disconnected and depressed, many teens are turning to alcohol, drugs, eating disorders, and cutting to mask their pain. This is becoming the price of privilege in our country, driven by materialism and the pressure to achieve.
In a country where the large majority of people are more "privileged" than the rest of the world, we must continually work to keep the proper perspective on money and material possessions. I do not want my children to ever doubt that they are more important than the "stuff." To me, the price of privilege is too high to pay.