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Unhappy Children in a Material World

February 25, 2013

ImageQuite a while back (the 13th September 2011, to be precise; web link http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-14899148), the 10 o’clock BBC news suddenly announced the great discovery that having lots of toys doesn’t make children happy… Anybody surprised?? I was of course pleased to see that my home country Sweden ranked high in the “child happiness league”, but that’s rather irrelevant here! The main point of the article is quite disturbing: UK parents don’t feel competent as parents, and they therefore try to be good parents by giving their children lots of things. It isn’t working.

I imagine materialism is the church’s main competitor for people’s  time, energy and soul. What is most important in your life: time with your family or having a mobile phone with Internet access? Most people would probably say “family”, but that’s not what this study suggests. OK, maybe in words – but certainly not in attitudes, and that’s what really matters. What was it James said? “I will show you my faith by my deeds” (Jam 2:18). Jesus said something similar: “The mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Matt 12:34). In other words: our main values and convictions will come out in what we say and do. And if our society tells us (through TV programmes, adverts and celebs)  that it’s important to have the latest gadget, the coolest designer clothes and the fastest car, that’s what parents are going to believe and act on. This leads to toys and stuff replacing time and affection; which is not good – either for parents or children. Aren’t you glad God sent his Son, rather than some cosmic laptop?

So how do we, as the church of God, communicate different values? Do we believe that economic growth isn’t the answer to everything? Do our deeds show that our faith is in something much bigger and more lasting than consumerism? Might we even give up the chase for bigger and better, for the benefit of God’s kingdom? How heavily influenced are we by the society in which we live? We are in the world but shouldn’t be of it; may God help us to live that proclamation, whatever it might mean!

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From → Christianity, Faith

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