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Mommy and the Joyful Three

About This Blogger

Erin James is the author of a mom blog on She is a mother of three whose passion is helping other moms and dads with positive parenting.

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Kids Need Your Presence More Than Presents

Last week, I wrote about how my family is fasting from material items until Christmas. This has been a struggle! I never realized how much I actually waste when it comes to small things that I really do not need. My children have been doing OK with this, but they also have moments where they do not understand why we cannot buy just “one small toy.”

It really has opened my mind to what truly matters. For instance, rather than shopping or buying my children a toy or what they want, I have been trying to do more hands-on activities with them.

Lately, my son has had some discipline problems. Someone pointed out to me that maybe he is just trying to get my attention. I laughed because, of course, he has my attention. I am with him all day while the girls are in school, just me and my little buddy.

But, the more I thought about it, my attention these days is a hard thing to give any one person or thing. Before we had the Internet, or any of these electronic distractions, even cell phones parents were focused more on their children. It is just a fact. We take calls; and we have agendas and schedules. Life these days is a mixture of work, communication and keeping ourselves busy.

Christmas used to be more of a time to celebrate family and our Savior’s birth. And as Christians we never lose sight of the true meaning of the holiday, or do we?

Jesus gave us more than we can ever repay. With that in mind, are we focused on the right things in this world? Do we truly put aside our needs for the sake of others?

Thinking about even the time I spend with my children, I am not so sure I spend it right all of the time. So this material fast has become more to me about giving my time and energy to those who matter.

The clutter in my home is now replaced with boxes of donations. We have so much even if we are not wealthy. American kids are constantly entertained by video games, toys and television. These days the convenience of putting your child in front of a show while you shop is nothing special. I have friends who hand their children anything to keep them quiet.

How often do we hand them a new item to bribe them into silence? What are we gaining by shutting our children’s imaginations and needs down by materials? We may gain our sanity once in awhile, but we are losing that opportunity to parent.

What would Christmas be without all of these sales, shopping and distractions? It would be about love, hope and family.

Children are full of personality that we suppress with electronics. They are full of questions that we brush off. They want the knowledge that we have; and they want it from us, not from a screen.

This holiday season, I am learning that life needs to be more about the small day-to-day things, such as spending one-on-one time with our children.

My children will not remember the gifts they get, but they will remember the quality time we share. I can't tell you what I got for Christmas as a child, but I can tell you the funny memories and traditions we had growing up.

Presents should just be a bonus to our presence with our children. Let’s regulate electronics and material items to a small part of our day not our whole day.

God gave us His Son as the ultimate present for our salvation. I am learning every day more and more how my children deserve my own sacrifice of time. The truth is the more I give up the less of a sacrifice it becomes to put the right things first in life.

Do you struggle with this as well? Is it hard to truly give your time and energy to the people who matter most?

This coming week, I have many projects planned with my children that I will share next week. I would love to hear your own ideas as well!

Print      Email to a Friend    posted on Monday, December 03, 2012 5:00 PM

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