This holiday season, on an app that I used for current events, I discovered a particularly interesting article about a married couple with three children. They wrote on their blog that they had officially canceled Christmas… not the decorations or the tree lightings, but the specific act of them buying gifts for their children, and Santa skipping their house.
The father, named John Henderson, exclaimed that he was upset this year because his children were acting ungrateful, and he wanted them to be happy with how much that they had… not only obsess over what they wanted for Christmas. His spouse complied, and they announced their very first Christmas without giving gifts to their children.
It is strange to think that I was pondering a similar concept just last week.
Christmas is merry. It brings families together and encourages people to meet, give, and share God’s love and story. But there is something about it… all of that “Don’t be naughty, or Santa the CIA registered stalker will find out!” that really got to me this season.
And as I was going to bed one night, it struck me like a load of gifts on the head. Why are we telling our children to not be naughty? “You better watch out, you better not cry… you better not pout,” is why, but more than that, if we can rebuke our children and siblings, telling them not to whine and fuss, why can’t we instead encourage them to do good?
What if this season, instead of setting an elf scout/tattle tale on our shelves, we told the children to be intentionally nice?
Because if we think this way, if we tell them that they have to be well-behaved all this season, how much are we really leading them in the right direction? No one is perfect, and especially not my two-year old brother when he sees the newest lineup of toys on the shelves!
It’s a quantum leap in thinking.
It’s a simple, “I bet the elf would tell Santa that you cleaned your room extra well, and cleaned the closet.”
“Great work not littering and putting the candy cane wrapper in the trash can! That is exactly where we put the trash, not on the sidewalk!”
“I can tell you took the extra time to make your sisters bed! What an amazing job!”
… And this kind of encouragement…encouragement to do good and not just be NOT BAD would make a world of difference. (I know that’s a double negative, but you follow me, right?)
For the record, the Henderson family have purposed to spend all the money they were going to spend on Christmas gifts for their children to put towards buying gifts for local charities instead. Their children have made gifts for each other and are sneaking them into their stockings. Because of the shift in focus on giving and on others, their Christmas sounds a lot more love-filled than most.
Consider what changes you can make in what you say that will challenge your children’s behavior and focus. Instead of just being NOT BAD, encourage your children or siblings to be intentionally good.
Let’s change a mentality together this season.
Here’s a link to the article referred to. And for the record, I completely stand with this mother and father. I think they’re brilliant!