October 28, 2013 3:05 pm
Updated: October 29, 2013 2:26 pm

Parents, teach your kids the meaning of enough

Hershey's and Mars chocolate bars are on display in a Montreal store on Friday, June 21, 2013 in Montreal.

Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

Halloween is coming. The winter holidays follow. We’re heading into a time with fewer hours of sunlight; in times gone by, a time of less. Previously, people would have canned their harvest and prepared it for storage to be used during these winter months.

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Throughout history, mankind has found ways to celebrate and enjoy festivals that fall during the darkest time of the year, celebrating with lights and sweets. As religion came along, the festivals were focused on a point in the religion (Halloween is the eve before All Saints Day – November 1 in the Catholic religion). It seems that now, in our North American culture, as some pull their focus away from the religious, the focus has become about consumption.

The one-eve holiday of Halloween is becoming, in many communities a month-long celebration about:
• Bigger decorations
• Bigger candy treats (full size chocolate bars, those little ones aren’t good enough)
• Multiple costumes
• Multiple parties
• Consumerism

All of this in order to create wonderful memories for our kids around Halloween.

When we were growing up (it feels like a long time ago,) Halloween was wonderful! It was an opportunity to:
• Make costumes out of what we had at home
• Dress up and hang out with friends
• Go out at night
• Get lots of candy (which we then sorted and saved)
• Get a bit spooked at houses where families put great thought into their scary decorations

It lasted one night. In fact, one might argue that it was special because it only lasted one night. It was enough.

We believe that parenting is about values and vision; choosing the values that we live and model to our kids (they live what they learn and learn what they live), and having a vision of the characteristics we want our children to have when they are grown. Knowing these two things, we can choose our daily parenting decisions.

Do we really want to be teaching that Halloween isn’t enough unless we have all of the decorations and all of the parties? Is it that we need to have the giant chocolate bars rather than just the tiny treats? Do we really need to have three different costumes for three different occasions? Isn’t one enough?

Our job as parents is to think before we act – to think about what we are teaching. When we continue to make holidays all about the stuff and not the people or the experience, we are teaching our kids that it is the stuff that counts. We are setting up young adults of the future to be burdened with the characteristics of stuff-driven, unsatisfied, and entitled.

Halloween is the gateway to the holiday season. Often in December, we focus on the value of generosity. Please be intentional about all of the values you live and model all year (including moderation and gratitude). Help your kids to learn the word enough.

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