An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
My guess is, in reading articles like THIS, that there probably aren't any televisions shows on today that even try to offer a similar message to what we often used to get from shows such as Little House on the Prairie when we were kids. Not that we ever did or had to learn the lesson...but maybe we are heading toward an economy in which we will now at least learn this lesson?
Naw, let's instead blame toy manufacturers for failing to teach our kids old school and common sense values that USED to make this country great (in many ways). No, for as we all know, we are slaves to corporations...immobile and defenseless against the onslaught of their mind numbing advertisements. We are VICTIMS! Surely there MUST be legislation passed to protect our kids from materialism.
We've lost our bleeding minds! Have these parents stopped to think that they can turn the stupid radio, TV, or internet OFF! OFF! I say again: OFF! Good night, we act as if WalMart goes door to door, or perhaps sends sexy models out to stand in our front yards under our children's bedrooms windows trying to lure them (and Dad) outside with a new PlayStation or XBOX. You'd think we had to, by force of law, pay taxes to "Stuff-Mart."
Look, toy manufacturers are just trying to sell their products (like you and me making a living) so they have money to buy their kids somebody else's product and so on and so forth. They just do what they do...why on earth we act like we cannot control their influence over our lives is beyond me. I feel like I'm in a disaster movie and parents blaming toy advertisements are like that driven-to-madness, inconsolable, and screaming woman who needs a good slapping to bring her back to her senses. There seems to be some notion that corporations wield so much power and authority in our lives and yet I don't think anyone stops to think about how untrue that is really...all one need do is CHOOSE to live differently and by making a simple sidestep you are now wholly untouchable. If you know what the latest rage is (what people are shooting each other over at Toys-R-US) then odds are you're still amidst the corporate fiefdom. If there's a corporate shooting range, we are making a conscious decision to be their clay pigeons.
As a side, the only power that DOES wield authority over your life (and will do so often without your consent, and will enforce it - if need be - with tanks and automatic gunfire) is the government. Yet they don't try and sell us anything, do they? Uh-huh, sure. Ahem. Sorry, the aluminum foil hat wearing side of me bled through there.
Christmases have always been lean in our house and this year will be no exception, in fact it is going to be leaner than normal. I'm not sure to what extent we can blame the downturn, I mean I still have the same job I've always had. But gas prices this summer was brutal on us and it affected a great many products we rely on such as animal feed and such. Add in a few unexpected additional expenses, an arguably failed harvest we were counting on, and a pinch or more of poor stewardship and voila: you've got an extra lean Christmas.
But honestly, I'm not sure my kids will notice it too much! Whereas there are a multitude of areas where my parenting has consistently been a dismal and serious failure (I've made no secret of this in the past and I am planning on a few posts in the near future where I will again wrestle with them publicly here after reading a great series of articles by Fr. George Morelli), but this happens to be one area where I have been largely successful...I think...if for no other reason than that it isn't all that hard a thing to do - avoiding TV (or art least commercial TV) is a HUGE part of the battle. However, I do realize, it is hard when kids have to face the obligatory litanies that follow the question: "What did you get?" from their peers when they return to school after Christmas break...this is something mine are largely spared, but not completely because of their home school co-op and other friends/family. But peer pressures are inescapable and I don't think even an unprecedentedly successful letter writing campaign to toy makers is going to dissuade kids from wanting the very coolest toys.
All of the things that I need to do to assist in my task of raising loving, caring, giving, and responsible human beings out of my children consist in changing myself. I'll say it again: Changing things in ME is the solution to all my children's woes, not changing Toy Manufacturers' advertising policies.