Choosing to be Content

(Essential Principle # 3) Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.  I Timothy 6: 6-7 We are a profoundly dissatisfied people.  We focus on what we want to get rather than enjoying what we already have.  We grasp for, grab at, and seek for more- better – easier.  The discontented culture we have created for ourselves is a breeding ground for depression and despair.  The more we look for new means by which to satisfy ourselves, the more discontent we become. This ever expanding pursuit is a nightmarish existence of greed, envy, and pride.   It lures, ensnares, and imprisons us into a lifestyle that distracts us away from what is truly important in life. The unbelievable amount of choices available to American consumers in and of itself creates dissatisfaction.  What if we make the wrong choice or pick “less than the best option” available?  With the purchase of a cell phone alone, the shopper has over 4,600 cell phone models to select from and as soon as a new phone is purchased, an upgraded model becomes available. And think about the complexity of merely selecting athletics shoes considering that over 10,000 models are available in the market.  “Choices stress” bubbles into EVERYTHING including the purchase of everyday items like eggs and milk. The perception of what kids actually need to be happy has mushroomed in recent decades.  Today’s kids get more and at earlier ages than any other generation.    Yet they appear to be decidedly more dissatisfied if whining and complaining...

Moving Away from Self Absorption

Essential Lesson Number One American children are learning a new pledge of allegiance and it has nothing to do with our flag or country.  Instead the pledge states “I pledge allegiance to myself and to who I want to be…” The pledge was recently plastered all over the hallways of a local elementary school as part of a revised D.A.R.E program that is offered to children across our nation. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education)  The next line goes on to say “..cause I can make my dreams come true if I believe in ME.” At first glance you may find these words innocuous.  After all, aren’t we supposed to believe in ourselves and in our dreams?  So what harm can possibly come from a promise of loyalty to myself? This pledge takes the self-esteem movement of the 1980’s- which has already gone too far- even further.  I remember my kids all learning a song (to the tune of “Frere Jacques) “I am special, I am special, look at me, look at me”.  This self-esteem movement continues to have well meaning educators and parents inadvertently nurturing entitlement and narcissistic values by teaching children to feel good about- and put their faith in – themselves regardless of what they are doing. Now I am all for confidence and the courage to go after one’s dreams.  The problem is that if ME is what I have to put my faith in and focus on, confidence and courage actually start to diminish and anxiety sets in.  Read the studies. How ironic that we do anything to nurture a positive self-esteem in our children and...

Raising Un-entitled Kids – Part II

(See Part I in last week’s blog) ”You have heard that it was said, ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’.  But I say to you, do not resist the one who is evil.  But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.  And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.  And if anyone forces you to go one mile go with him two miles.  Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.  You have heard that it is said, ‘you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy’.  But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.  For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.  For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?  Do not even the tax collectors do the same?”  Matthew 5:38 – 46. It Starts With YOU Within seven years of marriage, our “match made in heaven” was far from heavenly.  In fact Glen and I struggled to even be civil with each other. As a teacher, Glen often supplemented our income with coaching and other additional jobs.  That certainly was the case back in that challenging season of our lives when I stayed at home with our three small children while he worked long hours...