"The Event" happened in our family and it forced us to think about greed. I won't tell you what "The Event" was, but let's just say that one of our kids did something that will be regretted for a long time. However, this action has lead us to consider what we are teaching our children about greed. The first thing we thought of was all the things that we allow our kids to do. We let them play Webkinz, where the whole idea is making money to spend on stuff...we let them stare at the Sears Wishbook for hours on end so they can drool over all the things they want...we let them look at websites online that basically exist to sell them things...we take them to stores just to look at toys...we buy them things. All these things, we decided, encourage greed, so we thought it best to put a stop to many of these things. We told our children that we would not be buying them anything for a while (at least until they are "ungreedy" as one of the kids put it).
While it was difficult for us to make some of these decisions, it was not as difficult as our next realization. We were planning on having a garage sale at the time of "The Event." We were going to sell all our junk as well as a number of great baby things that we have no need for any more (can I hear a "Hallelujah!"). We also told the kids that they could choose some things and that they would be allowed to keep the money from some of what they sold. The kids were also going to sell chocolate bars and drinks and keep the profits, our thinking was it would teach them about money-management and give them an entrepreneurial spirit (what can be more important then that?) After "The Event" however, we realized that this may not be helping with the whole greed thing...so we eventually decided that our garage sale would become a benefit. We would raise money that would go towards a number of different charities (for kids that don't have enough) and this seemed like a great idea. Until we realized that this now meant that we would be going through a lot of work so that other people would benefit, not us. This became a bit of a problem for us parents. We had a few ideas of where the money for the garage sale could go. There are some much "needed" house renovations that we have been saving for. There is the Mac I really want to get, there are many things that we want. I guess greed is something you learn, and it was our hesitance to change the garage sale that helped us to realize that our kids were learning from us. We decided to have the garage sale, and we had a great time as a family selling our stuff and raising money.
I was thinking though that many things in my life (and I would guess in others) are a function of greed. Besides being greedy for things, I can also be greedy for a better situation, maybe a different neighborhood would make my life work better, maybe a different way of doing ministry would be more satisfying, etc, etc. I think we can get greedy in just about everything...the way we worship (I want more of God), the way we give (expecting praise, or something in return), the way we interact with people (expecting them to care for us more then we care for them). I guess I need to examine my motives more often. Thanks to "The Event," I am getting that chance.