How Much Is Too Much?

  1. 1.
  2. an amount of something that is more than necessary, permitted, or desirable.

Lately, our kids have been going through a mega destruction phase. It has become a major source of stress for me. I would spend my time trying to fix their toys only to realize the destruction was deliberate … it’s as if they (my boys in particular) want to see how much force a toy could endure before it broke. In my exasperation I would try to get ideas from friends and family and too often I would hear, “Boys will be boys.” Or, “Oh you can just get another, it doesn’t cost that much.”

The problem is, I hated seeing the toys that were carefully chosen for my kids broken just so my “boy could be boys” and watch it break. It is the epitome of ingratitude and a lack of value for the things they have. I found myself looking at the faces on my refrigerator of other kids who do not have as much and my anger would just build.

When did we become the family that lived in excess? Do my kids have so many toys that they do not care when one breaks or when it is thrown away? Are they of the opinion it will be replaced just as fast as one is lost? After two weeks of having daily incidents (sometimes more), I found myself facing the third incident of the morning and I WAS DONE.

I called them all down to the kitchen and I told them about kids who did not have as much. When they got a toy it was so special that it would be cherished and protected. Since my kids clearly had so many toys that they did not care if one broke, I told them we were cleaning house.

Each kid got their own kitchen-sized trash bag. I told them to go through their personal toys (no one else’s) and keep only their most favorites. Everything else would be donated to kids who would appreciate and take care of them. An hour later I went through each bag and pulled out any I knew were special or would be handed down to the girls. Then I made them go again.

The next day we took our bags to the local thrift store and donated them.  Late that evening, at the dinner table Gabe was telling Brian about his day and how he gave his “toys to kids who would take good care of them.” That was a week ago and the kids still haven’t missed a single toy we gave away.

This issue of excess is a product of the American consumerism culture we live in. Brian and I are just as guilty for allowing this many toys to begin with. However, we believe parenting is intentional and needs to have long-sighted goals.  So we discussed them. Who did we want to raise up our kids to become?

How do we raise up adults who understand hard work and value for things? How do we raise them to be content with and grateful for only what they need? Do we want them to live within their means or become consumer-addicts and slaves to debt in an effort to keep up with the Jones’? How can we teach our family to be content and satisfied with God’s provisions? Do we ourselves live from a heart of gratitude? When is enough enough? How do we as parents instill those attitudes of gratitude and contentment into our children?

No sooner than the very next ride into town was Gabe telling me about the new toy he wanted. I said, “Gabe, we just gave your extra toys away because you could not take care of them. Now, I want you to list out loud five of your favorite things and tell me why each one is a favorite. Esther, your’e next.”

Pray for Them 

Pray your kids grow up to be thankful for God’s blessings and find a church who will develop this in them. Ask the Lord to give them value for their blessings and discernment between their needs and wants.

Father, what a gift the body of Christ is. Direct (Name) to the body of Christ where they “let the peace of Christ rule in [their] hearts, to which indeed [they] were called in one body.” I pray they have a thankful spirit and “let the word of Christ dwell in [them] richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in [their] hearts to God.” Father, I pray that “whatever [Name does], in word or deed, [(he/she) would] do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” In Jesus’ name, amen.                – Colossians 3:15-17

Prayers taken from the BiblicalPrayers mobile app. Download today on the App Store or Google Play store.

Cinnamon Chip Scones

I am on a scone kick and cinnamon is my favorite. After trying so many recipes, I have found this base (from Better Homes and Gardens) to be the perfect balance between flaky and soft.

  • 3/4 cup whipping cream (cold)
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon chips
  • 6 Tbsp butter
  • 1 egg lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine in a large bowl flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Cut in cold butter until it resembles course crumbs. Stir in cinnamon chips until coated and set aside. In a measuring cup light whisk egg and stir in cream. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients (helps blend quicker keeping you from over mixing) and add the egg mixture stirring until just moistened. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead gently 10-12 times until it comes together and can be shaped into a rectangle. Cut into six squares and then slice each square diagonally to make 12 triangles. Place 2″ apart on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 13-15 minutes.

If you want to top with a sauce:

In a sauce pan over medium heat, combine 2 Tbsp butter, 1 Tbsp water, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 Tbsp light corn syrup and 1 tsp cinnamon. Stir until smooth and when the scones are done lightly drizzle over top.