Stress, Self-absorption: A Simple Solution

The Christmas season is in full swing. Or…would it be more accurate to say that the Christmas roller coaster has left the station? Either way, the ups and downs and the back-and-forths that come with this season can have a significant impact on your mood and mindset. Suffice to say that as a parent/guardian (for the rest of this post, we will use the word “parent” to refer to both), you are navigating what can be a flower bed of wonderful experiences as well as a minefield of stressful issues.

If you were to take a moment to reflect, these experiences can include things such as decorating, party planning, gift purchasing, gift wrapping, planning how to spend equitable time with family members, bridging gaps with loved ones with whom a relational issue may exist, finding the finances to accomplish what you feel is important, getting time off work. Do you get the picture?

In the midst of all this, you may possibly have a child (or children) who may be a bit self-absorbed. Their excitement about the holidays revolves around how much fun they are going to have or what great gifts they are hoping to get. This is normal. Again, we say…this is normal. But possibly you may be feeling disconcerted in observing this self-absorption. Deep down inside, you feel that your child(ren) are missing out on how to truly appreciate what you have been doing for them. How to recognize the blessings that exist in their lives.

So how do you get their attention and begin to reshape this kind of mindset? First, realize that it will take time. It will not happen through one activity or one season. But, it can begin by making the effort to put their eyes on someone less fortunate.

Some years ago, two parents whose family attended our school’s church ministry decided to have their children take gifts to a mom whose husband was in prison. This mom had next to nothing to give her kids at Christmas. As the story went, these parents’ teenage children who went on this visit came away feeling quite somber. They did not like the neighborhood. They thought the apartment where this mom was living was dingy. They just felt uncomfortable. But, as the story went, they also were humbled and began to show a bit more appreciation for what they had.

Maybe you cannot do that. But maybe you can go to a local charity and provide some help to local hurting families. Even in the most affluent of areas in this country, there are families who need a helping hand. If you take up this type of action with your child(ren), you just might find that their attitudes get reshaped a bit and that the stress of the season subsides somewhat. This usually happens when one takes his or her eyes off themselves and helps someone less fortunate. That is what Jesus did…for a whole lot of people.

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