What Not To Give Your Children

Our hearts break whenever we see or read about young people killing each other and/or themselves. We inherently want life to run its full course. We drop our heads in despair when it is cut unnaturally short, as it was recently in Santa Barbara, California.

Armchair psychology, like armchair quarterbacking, has its limits, especially when information is scarce and first-hand experience with those involved is non-existent. (Media outlets and pundits should be so circumspect.)

But this much can be said: we set our children up for trouble when we spoil them with material possessions. They can become dependent on those things–cars, clothes, electronics, and cash–for their self-esteem. And when those things inevitably fail to impress or persuade a peer, the sting of rejection can become earth-shattering.

All teenagers experience rejection. All teenagers experience ridicule. It’s important that teachers and parents equip them with the tools to handle it. Those tools include self-esteem based on character, self-reliance, and resiliency, not material possessions.

That said, let me add this: quite appropriately, a multitude of prayers have gone out to the families and friends of the slain students. We should, in our prayers, also include the parents and family of the assailant, who suffer as much as anyone, if not more.

Thoughts and prayers are with one and all.


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