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The Over Indulgent Parent


Over indulgence lives somewhere in the recesses of my parenting super ego. Sometimes it crops up when I want to show off how much I love my kids. It's always there, just waiting for the right opportunity to spring up and make things worse. It's the parent in me that wants to give my kids everything I never had.

It starts so well intentioned. There is love dripping off the edges of this idea, and it comes from a good place. However, it begins to set the tone for an unhealthy future. When I give my kids more and more things, I can slowly begin to place more value on the “stuff” and devalue the “words” that should come first.

When we give our kids the world in the palms of their hands, it's all too easy to be tempted to let up in other areas.

Don't let those temporary smiles fool you into believing that it's a permanent thing. Amusement parks, fancy dinners, beach vacations, and new lego sets all have their place; but they are no replacement for time spent with your kids. They don't replace meaningful conversation at the dinner table and at bedtime. They can't measure up to taking those kids to the back porch and reading them a book.

What's my point? For heaven's sake give your kids the best you can financially afford, but make sure that you guard against watering down your time with them as an side effect.


Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.