In recent days there have been many reactions to a mom who blogged that her family was ‘canceling Christmas’ because her children’s recent behavior was disrespectful and entitled.
During an interview with “Good Morning America” the children agreed that they were hitting, fighting and even having tantrums and when asked what they learned from the cancellation of the holiday celebrations one dutifully said, “Christmas is not about getting what you want. It’s about giving.”
Unfortunately our society IS all about buying, buying, buying ~ getting, getting, getting ~ and grown ups are modeling the very behavior we want our kids to rise above. The culture that our kids are exposed to is mired in disrespect and entitlement.
What saddens me is that parents honestly believe that ‘canceling Christmas’ a good way to teach kids an important lesson. The give-a-way to what they have really learned comes at the end of the CBS interview: “Already they are acting better in anticipation of next year.”
So this isn’t really about authentic appreciation for our blessings or deep desire to be philanthropic toward the less fortunate. This is about controlling children’s behavior with threats and punishments. Whether it is not making Santa’s list, being watched by the elf on the shelf, or the total cancellation of holiday gift giving, parents are fooling themselves if they really think children are developing internal compassion and gratitude.
This mom has actually done us all a tremendous service because she has held up a mirror that we can all use for reflection. We adults create a materialistic frenzy around holidays and then resent the way our kids participate in the madness.
Our behavior leads the way. We are the role models.
It is time we got our priorities straightened out and became honest with ourselves. If we want the Christmas season to be more spiritual, altruistic and filled with loving-kindness we must first start with our own behavior. Our relationship with our children must be built on something deeper than rewards and punishments and our desire to create a society that truly cares about its fellow human beings must become the essence of the way we treat each other all year long, not just in November and December.