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Don’t Shortchange Your Kids At Christmas

As Christmas approaches I will be posting articles from my vault that focus on the holidays. Here is the first from December 15, 2009.
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It’s Christmas, and what I have to say is going to offend some and infuriate others. So, if you choose to continue reading, be prepared to be upset.

It’s that time of year when the collective plaintive cry is: “What do I get my child/children for Christmas?” Many parents are foraging through stores and online in search of that which they can ill-afford and, in reality, their child/children have little real need of. But for those unable to differentiate between wasting money, spending what they cannot afford and what a child really needs, the quest is on.

Children need that which is substantive, and there is nothing more enduring than a fundamental understanding of what Christmas is about and the reason we celebrate it. Christmas is about the birth of Christ. It is about the love of God for mankind that is so great. He sent His only Begotten Son, to be born of a virgin – that through His virgin birth, death and resurrection, we can have eternal life with Him if we confess, believe and accept in our hearts that said is the case.

But parents will watch the most foolish and imbecilic programming, never once considering – much less attempting – to share said truth with their child/children. They will take their child/children to Wal-Mart and Target before they take them to church. Still others will take them to church, not to learn of Christ, but simply because it’s Christmas.

While I, without apology, believe Christ is the quintessential substantive of life, I also believe that there are other things that, while sans eternal value, are of critical importance. We live in a world in which we are being divided based on educational preparedness. Children must be able to function on par levels, or they will contribute to the continued devolvement of intellectual ascendancy.

I’m not anti–toys and gifts, but I am anti-ignorance. If children cannot read, write, speak or interact beyond the immediate environs of their neighborhoods – what will they be able to contribute to their/our tomorrow or their future families?

I was raised by a single mother who suffered an emotional breakdown when I was 10 years old. But she never allowed her condition to excuse me from learning. And while I did not go without a toy of some kind, the rest of my gifts, regardless of how basic, reinforced her belief in educational preparedness accompanied with the strict expectation that I excel academically. She and my grandmother set a high bar of expectation, and I was expected to respond in kind.

Today, we see low bars of expectation especially from the parents – if we see any at all – and their children, for the most part, are not disappointing them. Children can repeat verbatim the words to dozens of stupid, worthless and in many instances vulgar, antisocial, misogynistic pieces of trash masquerading as music – but they have never read Charles Dickens or Mark Twain and haven’t a clue who Bach or Brahms were.

My grandmother used to say, “An excuse is the easiest thing in the world to find.” Parents today must stop making excuses for underperforming children. And for those parents that thump their chests and drive vehicles with bumper stickers proclaiming their child is an honor-roll student, I suggest you examine exactly what tangible benefit that is – because in most public schools, being on the honor-roll is worth only slightly more than the bumper sticker acknowledging same.

In my office I have two photos of deceased relatives – one from the mid/late 1880s, the other from 1900. I was told that my relatives in those photos were able to read and write. My relative in the one photo had been born a slave, while the two in the other photo were born just after the end of slavery. Yet, they were able to read and write, even if, as I suspect, it was only commensurate with the level of instruction they had received.

Parents today do their children no favors by buying them gifts just so they can have what someone else has. That is nothing more than the parent attempting to assuage his or her own guilt, the end result being unprepared children and self-deluded parents.

Toys break and electronic/computer games are obsolete minutes after they are purchased, but a truly valuable gift for a child is a bankbook and savings account that they must contribute to regularly – and to which there are strict rigid guidelines affixed pursuant to withdrawal. Too few children understand the value of money and the need to save it.

This Christmas, if for whatever reason you choose not to share the “Truth” of Christmas with your child/children, at least give them more than a video game and an earring. Give them something that when they are older they will still have. Books don’t break, and a penny saved is still a penny earned.

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12 Responses to Don’t Shortchange Your Kids At Christmas

  1. Rita Robinson Bowen December 11, 2012 at 6:23 pm #

    How refreshing to hear the bare truth about many issues facing us today. So glad I found you via The Blacksphere/Kevin Jackson. So far I've only read two of your articles and they are head on in my book. Being an elementary teacher for 34 years, now retired, I can attest to the decline of values, morals, and importance of being involved in a child's education. It is so sad for the majority of children these days not to have parents take responsibility for actively encouraging their children to study hard, make good grades, and be proud of their efforts. The dynamics of the family and lifestyle have changed drastically over the last 30 years. Very few parents still teach respect, manners, integrity, and the list goes on. As a teacher. I witnessed the decline as watching a slideshow with each new class from year to year. Finally, 3 years ago I decided my heart and mind could no longer withstand the weight that teachers in public schools have to carry these days. I found myself wanting/needing to preach way more than should be necessary if only parents, and most of them single parents, would just do their given God given job of raising their children the right way. Don't misunderstand, I was a highly effective, high goals and expectations type of teacher. Twice the Teacher of the Year at my school which averaged 900 students in a middle class neighborhood that became quite diverse over the years. I loved teaching, until it became all about "teaching to the test" mentality. UGH! That's a huge subject I will not address at this time. God Bless you Mychal and continue to tell it like it is. MERRY CHRISTMAS 2012!

    • Tricia Lee Kelly December 13, 2012 at 11:28 pm #

      What a great post! I agree with everything you wrote! i

    • Rita Robinson Bowen December 14, 2012 at 12:34 am #

      Thanks Tricia. This guy is so smart and honest in his observations. It's not suppose to be abput color, but rather substance.

    • Rita Robinson Bowen December 14, 2012 at 12:34 am #

      Thanks Tricia. This guy is so smart and honest in his observations. It's not suppose to be abput color, but rather substance.

  2. Anonymous December 10, 2012 at 11:57 pm #

    Oh and btw, he gets plenty of "stuff" all year.

  3. Anonymous December 10, 2012 at 11:55 pm #

    I just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am having to struggle with my own parents regarding what is required to earn things, even Christmas gifts, They just don't under making F's is not acceptable for him to get things he wants and instead of what he needs. I would much rather him fail at 11 than at 21 when life will eat you up and spit you out.

  4. Kathy Cole December 6, 2012 at 2:12 am #

    I'm so glad to have found your site, really enjoyed the article. Your right, kids don't need for cheap plastic junk, they need parents to teach them, be the adult in room. There were 6 children in my family and we did not have much, but we did have self respect for ourselves and others, we were taught and used good manners, were taught to respect our elders. Let's get our children back on track, heck lets get parents back on track.

    • Mychal Massie December 7, 2012 at 8:24 pm #

      kathy cole: amen well said…

  5. Vera Allen December 6, 2012 at 1:56 am #

    Wonderful read and absolutely rue.

    • Mychal Massie December 7, 2012 at 8:51 pm #

      vera allen: thk you…

  6. Robert Cremone December 3, 2012 at 3:22 pm #

    I have the most admiral and deep respect for Mr. Massie. He truely understandsw the meaning of a republic as opposed to thise who "free-load"….

    • Mychal Massie December 7, 2012 at 10:41 pm #

      robert cremone: you are kind…

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