‘Dad, can I buy this?’ (3 things to teach your kids about greed and shopping)

‘Dad, can I buy this?’ (3 things to teach your kids about shopping)

I was getting a haircut at the local budget salon a few months back when my 9-year-old son – who had just received his own trim – started growing restless.

“Dad, can I have your phone?”

Normally the answer is “no,” but his choice of magazines in the waiting area was too adult-oriented, and, besides, there are a few educational apps on my phone that he enjoys.

The rest of our trip to the salon was uneventful – he kindly grabbed a few suckers for his siblings and we ate a snack on the way home — but later that evening, after he went to bed, I discovered an unwelcome surprise in my email.

“Thank-you for shopping with us!” the email, from Amazon.com, read. “We’ll send a confirmation when your item ships.”

Umm, what item?

The LEGO Star Wars Millennium Falcon, of course. The expensive one with 1,329 pieces, ready to assemble. The one with Rey, Finn, Han Solo and Chewbacca. Even BB-8!

I didn’t share Amazon’s excitement, though, and I hadn’t ordered any LEGO toys. Continue reading

3 ways parents can keep ‘Christ’ the center of Christmas

3 ways parents can keep 'Christ' the center of ChristmasMy wife and I were watching a movie a few nights ago, when a teacher asked a group of elementary school students to give one word describing the “spirit” of Christmas. “Joy” was written on the chalkboard, as was “giving.”

I was begging for someone to shout “Jesus,” but it didn’t happen. The last kid said “Santa,” the teacher smiled and told him “good answer,” and the scene ended.

That kind of summarizes America’s view of religious-themed holidays. We celebrate bunny rabbits at Easter, turkeys at Thanksgiving, and materialism at Christmas.

I’ve never been to a birthday party where the cake, cards and napkins all have the wrong name on them, but I bet it’s something like Christmas.

Sometimes as a Christian parent, it’s tempting to just give up and join in the what-am-I-getting-this-year bash, but we shouldn’t. With a little determination, it really is possible to keep “Christ” at the center of Christmas. Here are three suggestions:

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