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Sunday, March 25, 2007

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 11:18-19
As 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.

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Blogger Denise said...

This is so very sad, yet, so very true. Bless you for sharing.

March 24, 2007 at 2:56 AM  
Blogger Susie said...

I could not agree more with this post! So true.

March 24, 2007 at 5:27 AM  
Anonymous Lynn Donovan said...


This is an excellent post. If only this country would spend time with their kids and teach them about Jesus. What a different world it would be. :)

March 24, 2007 at 11:38 AM  
Blogger Cyndi said...

This is an excellent post. I think in some ways it's easier to give them the "stuff" than for parents to give of themselves, which is actually more of a sacrifice. It hard for me sometimes, too, but this is a season, a precious season. AND it's a chance to "die to self." I'm so glad you wrote this post, it is a much-needed message.

Have a blessed weekend!

March 24, 2007 at 2:33 PM  
Blogger Faerylandmom said...

So very very true. I too, was blessed by parents who were THERE for me. Always. I am so grateful I have that example.

March 24, 2007 at 5:31 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

My parents were also very focused on time with us. I think a lot of the materialism comes from parenst trying to alleviate the guilt they feel for not spending enough time with their children. I see 6 year olds with ipods and cell phones. It's so sad.

March 24, 2007 at 7:28 PM  
Blogger Darlene said...

I was writing a blurb about this yesterday, but my words didn't flow as eloquently as yours. I totally agree.

March 25, 2007 at 12:12 PM  
Blogger janiswrites said...

Great post. I think that this price of privilege can also cause other problems that we are only just beginning to see in this generation of children-lack of gratitute, disrespect, etc. Thanks for sharing! Blessings to you!

March 25, 2007 at 7:07 PM  
Blogger Laurel Wreath said...

Kelly this is so true, our time is what is most precious. Out of all the time our family spends together, it is when we are stuck in a car every summer traveling three days by car to go bass fishing is the most special time when our memories are made.

March 25, 2007 at 8:57 PM  
Blogger Elise said...

Just the title of this post gave me chills - it is easy to understand exactly what it means.
What an inspired post, Kelly. It gives me lots to think about - and cements me more firmly in the ways I am already confident in.
Thank you!

March 25, 2007 at 9:43 PM  
Blogger Macromoments said...

Kelly, you were blessed with a special dad. My dad is the one who taught me to pray, by kneeling next to me at bedtime.

You are absolutely right--"children do not need stuff". When they look back on their childhood someday, they won't remember the stuff; they'll remember us, and whether we taught them how to trust God, recognize their gifts, and follow the path He laid out for them.

Thanks for a beautiful post!

April 11, 2007 at 2:26 PM  
Anonymous motherlyway said...

Excellent points. It confirms that I made a good choice leaving the corporate world and working from home after my children were born. I can be here for my boys after school, on days off, summer, etc. I work while they are gone, then it's all about them when they are home.

April 17, 2009 at 4:10 PM  

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