“For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2:6).
It is fun to give things to our children, and it is important to choose the best gifts. The best gifts are not always material ones.
When I was small, there was a rule in our house. I was never supposed to ask for anything when we went to the market or the mall. I was never supposed to ask my grandparents, relatives or the friends we visited to give me anything. I was not supposed to beg my mom for toys or new clothes. Not ever.
If I did not ask, sometimes I got what I wanted. If I asked, I definitely did not get it.
This may have been extreme, but it did teach me some things. I learned not to beg for things from adults. I learned money was hard to come by and should not be wasted. I learned I could not have everything I wanted. I learned to work at a very early age.
What was the better gift: a new Barbie doll, or this knowledge?
Next time your children ask you for something, pause and think.
If they are small and need new shoes or school supplies, give them what they need. If they are older, ask yourself what they need more: the things they are asking for, or knowledge about self-control and earning money themselves.
Sometimes you need to give. Other times, your children need to learn self-control. At some point, they need to learn how to work for what they want.
Saying “no” instead of “yes” could be a better gift.
Kimberly Snider is a missionary to the Philippines.
From “Moments for Moms,” a free email subscription.
Copyright (c) 2004 Women’s Ministries of the Assemblies of God.