Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Where Are You Putting Your Resources At Your House?

I heard this week that the average prom spending per family was $1100 in 2012. That's the average so of course some spent less but just as many spent more!  For a dance.

Now there's nothing inherently wrong with special nights and activities in high school. Kids look forward much of their lives to their junior and senior proms. But who's driving these high costs for one night out?  The kids? Probably. The parents, too?  You bet.

There aren't too many students out there with the kind of income on their own to shell out a grand or more for their dress, limo, tux, food, photos and whatever else comes with it. My hunch is that a lot of parents use prom, just like so many other things, to keep up with the Joneses and to not disappoint little Julie or Ryan.

But what messages might we be sending?

The obvious one is that you must do what everyone else does or you won't be good enough. Kids have enough self esteem issues to add this pressure to their lives. Our worth is never in stuff and there isn't enough stuff to satisfy us. If there were then every Hollywood celebrity and pro athlete making huge amounts of money and living in enormous houses would be happy. But that's rarely the case.

Second, we may send the idea that you never need to wait or save for something better later. We've lived in a I-must-have-it-now culture for a long time now and these latest statistics merely add to that mentality. Wise parents help their kids to have great memories and fun experiences without having to do or spend exorbitantly.

Third, we are saying that of the resources God has given us, we are going to exhaust a significant amount of them on things that really don't matter in the big scheme of things.  Do our children see us spend that kind of money on other people, God's work, mission projects and the like? They watch us throw a twenty or even fifty in the offering each week but not ashamed to break the bank for a dress or limousine.

I talked with a man today whose wife was rushed to the hospital with severe abdominal pain. Thankfully, later in the day she was to be released but the man had no way to go get her and only $15 dollars left which he did not dare spend on cab fare. They don't live in the slums but have a place only a mile or two from us.  They've just been hit with lots of personal hardships.

So I spent a little of my time, money and gas and took him and his nine-year-old daughter to get mommy. And did I mention that I was the one blessed? That's the way it works when we try to spend our resources in the right places. Hope you and your family will try it.
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

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