Something I read today has really struck me and got me thinking about the troubles of our modern world. It started with a friend linking me to a vicar’s blog (here) who was discussing an article on a recent Unicef report. The article is by Mark Easton for the BBC (here) and makes for some of the most depressing reading I have come across for a while. Let me quote a section:
We put too little store on family time and too much on material goods. Unicef paints a picture of a country that has got its priorities wrong – trading quality time with our children for “cupboards full of expensive toys that aren’t used”.
“Parents in the UK want to be good parents, but aren’t sure how,” the research suggests. “They feel they don’t have the time, and sometimes the knowledge, and often try to compensate for this by buying their children gadgets and clothes.”
The research compares Britain with Sweden and Spain. While the UK languishes in 21st, and last, place in the child well-being table, they come second and fifth respectively.
One reason they perform so much better, according to Unicef, is that in both countries “family time is protected” and children “all have greater access to activities”.
“In Sweden their social policy allows family time and their culture massively reinforces it. In Spain fathers do work long hours, but the extended family is still very important and women stay at home to look after their children.”
The report argues that the pressure of the working environment and rampant materialism combine to damage the well-being of our children. They want our attention but we give them our money.
“All children interviewed said that material goods did not make them happy, but materialism in the UK seems to be just as much of a problem for parents as children,” the research concludes. “Parents in the UK often feel compelled to purchase consumer goods which are often neither wanted or treasured.”
What can I say? … I actually hope that breaks your heart as much as it does mine. Sure we live in a country were all political parties speak nice words about the importance of family, but their actions speak much louder. After all, the economy needs to be got going again, doesn’t it? So poor parents (and I mean poor in both senses) feel pressured to work and work to gain the items that status demands. Our materialistic world seeps into our subconscious and slowly destroys the individual, the family and ultimately the society at large.
Why are we surprised? We create a society were both parents feel no choose but to work and then question why families suffer! I’d love to say that my experience told me Christians were different, but it would be a lie.
Jesus declares: 19Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21
Paul even warns that the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil (1 Tim 6:10).
And yet, Christians seem to have brought into the lie that money is all important. Please, those of you that follow Jesus, can’t we show a different way? Our countries children desperately need someone to change the priorities of our culture. Let’s go to their rescue.