Well it is close to Christmas and parents all over are going crazy buying their kids all of the things they never had and spending money they don’t have in a lot of cases. God is a giver and he wants us to be givers, too, but he wants us to be wise with our giving. God gave us physical life, spiritual life, the fulness of the earth to manage and use, physical blessings, spiritual
blessings of so many kinds, etc. In fact, James says that "every" good and perfect gift is from God (1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.). If we as fathers are going to emulate our heavenly father, then we must be sure the gifts we are giving our children are good (It would be nice to always give perfect gifts as well, but we are not perfect like God.).
How can we be sure that the gifts we give our children are good gifts? First, we must define "good" according to God’s standards and our priorities. Our society seems to believe that stuff is necessary for all of us to be happy, but God says that contentment is more important (1 Timothy 6:6). Jesus made it clear that how much stuff we have is not a valid measure of our quality of life (Luke 12:15). That is diametrically opposed to the philosophy of our society, so we must ask ourselves: "Is Jesus right or the American society?" If we are Christians that should not be a tough question, but overcoming our own greed, covetousness, selfishness, peer pressure and years of habitual misbehavior may be difficult.
Another question we have to ask is, "Will this gift help my son or daughter be better?" "Will it teach them something worthwhile?" "Will it bring them closer to God, Jesus, other Christians, and the rest of our family, or will it pull them away?" "What values am I instilling with this gift?" I can’t honestly say that I have always done a good job of asking these things and even at times when I thought something would be good it turned out to be a problem in one way or another.
We have to keep in mind that even a good gift might not be good for a certain person. People have an amazing ability to take good things and corrupt them. We gave the kids some flashlights so they could read in the van or see to go to the bathroom when we go camping. They have used them as a way to stay up after bedtime to play or read and have gotten in trouble because of what was originally intended as a good gift. We have to be intentional about rearing our children and like driving we must make constant adjustments. Can you imagine starting out down the road and getting the car in the right lane, in the right part of the lane going straight and then locking the steering wheel in place and letting the car go? How far down the road would you make it before the car ran off the road? Even on a straight road there are bumps that will change the car’s direction, and most roads aren’t that straight. The same is true of children they grow they change and we must adjust.
We just made our two older children go through their rooms and get rid of some of their things. My 10-year old son said he knew there were some things he was ready to get rid of because they were broken, missing pieces, or he had out-grown them. He is making a step in the right direction.