More, more, more…

January 15th, 2013 @   -  No Comments

Many parents, in a quest to make their children happy, offer them more and more. But, is more necessarily better? Are children who have an abundance of everything more content than children without? Should we strive to give our children everything they need and want? Would that give them a stress-free life? How can we guide our children to experience inner tranquility and ease of mind regardless of their circumstances?

Can we buy comfort and tranquility?

We often think that having certain material things or more of some things will make us happier. So we go after them, only we never seem to have enough. There is always something new that we want or think we need. What we wanted last year and managed to get is no longer satisfactory. As this goes on, we are never content. How many people seem to have everything but are depressed, maybe even suicidal, and sometimes rely on drugs to feel better?

Contentment comes from within. It stems from a particular state of mind. So, how can we help children develop that state of mind to live a contented life?

Remember our purpose in life.

Do your children know their purpose in life? Knowing this life is fleeting compared to the eternity of the hereafter puts everything into perspective. It tempers our stress over worldly possessions and the significance we place on them. Teaching and reminding children of this helps put things in their proper place so they are not overvalued.

Nothing in this life is fulfilling when God is not a part of it. If you have God, you have everything. If you don’t have God, there will always be a void waiting to be filled. Happiness that comes from wealth, beauty or fame alone is temporary. It gets old, so we carry on seeking more. If we don’t find contentment from faith, it won’t be found anywhere else.

Live within our means.

It is best to learn this principle earlier in life. Children will mainly learn it from their parents’ example. If your family lives beyond its means, your children will believe that to be the norm.

Nowadays, many people buy things they cannot afford. Afterwards, payment worries consume their lives. Why?

Contentment does not mean a person must live in poverty. However, many people covet what others have and feel the need to possess the same regardless of their means. You have two choices when acquiring something you cannot afford: owning it without the means to pay for it and stressing over debt or living stress-free within your means. The burdens of living outside your means cause more displeasure than being without something.

Be grateful for what we have.

Remind children to take stock and be grateful for what they have at present. They should not be jealous of other people’s possessions or long for them. Help them gain some perspective by sharing examples of children who have less than they do.

What are your children exposed to?

Limit children’s exposure to media that constantly emphasizes our need to possess what we do not have and asserts that only through the accumulation of those things will we be happy.

When children have a strong identity, they are less likely to be shaped, influenced or exploited by the media. They will not rely on material objects to define them, need the latest phone to feel cool or the latest fashion to feel accepted by their friends.

Teach children to be ambitious, not greedy.

There is nothing wrong with aiming high and being successful. We should always try to improve ourselves and our situation. But there is a difference between being ambitious and being greedy. Greedy people are never satisfied with what they currently have. They always focus on what they do not have. The content person is dignified whereas the greedy one is demeaned by his life’s aim to acquire more and more material things, perhaps at the expense of other people.

Remember that you are your children’s example. If you are not content with what you have, live beyond your means or think too materialistically, your children will most likely become the same. Contentment is an individual’s decision and state of mind that requires daily practice until it becomes easier.


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