When You Can't Give Your Kids Disneyland

Each day, I pull out the clothing my boys will wear  and I grimace at the dirtiness of hand-me-downs. Today, my oldest boy walked out of the house with pants that are too short and I’m just thankful that our California weather will mean shorts sooner than I have to buy pants for my growing boy.

Once in a while, my three sons will ask if we will go to Disneyland soon. Or if they can have an Xbox. My response of, “Maybe someday, Buddy. I would like to do that for you” is often enough to satisfy them. But My heart always drops with regret.

Running a company from home, and the tremendous sacrifice of being self-financed for more than two years, brings with it the kind of restrictions I never imagined I would face. And yet, the calling and the compulsion to continue is greater than whatever we are lacking. So we press on towards our vision to bring  high quality faith and family entertainment to Hollywood. There is a deep and unexplainable drive that propels us forward.

But in my weak moments I think about all the other kids who do go to Disneyland. I look in the catalogs at the cute coordinating outfits I would like to buy my sons. I dream about the décor I would use to furnish my custom home. The cool play structure I long to buy for my adventurous boys.

The regret sinks in. The question begs, “Are my children missing out?” I never wanted to be that mom who did less for her kids than she herself enjoyed growing up.

And then, in one moment, with one simple question, I get my answer.

We were driving in traffic with our two oldest boys in the back seat. Those pesky thoughts of wishing I could do more for my boys began to surface. I crane my neck backwards and ask my 6-year-old the question, “Oliver think back over your entire life. What was the BEST day of your life, the most awesome, wonderful, fun time you can ever think of?”

“Hmmmmm” he thinks, aloud.

“It’s the day Jesus came into my life and all the times I spend with Him, Mommy” he says confidently, sincerely.

I can hardly breathe.

I just knew he would remember Disneyland when we went 2 years ago, or the times we took him bowling with a group of friends for his birthday, or the amazing but simple camping trips we used to take.

But I was wrong.

The best times of his life are times in which I provided no earthly, no material thing for him at all.

You see, moms and dads, when we can’t provide material things for our kids, but we provide what they really need the most-their spiritual needs-they DESIRE spiritual things, not more Disney.

Just like that, my young boy reminded me that when I think I am failing him in the things of the world, if I am successful in training him in righteousness, there is no failure at all. Nothing lacking at all.

That same day, Oliver threw a coin in a fountain. He walked away from the water and motioned for me to lean down. I bent my ear towards him and he whispered in my ear. “Mommy, do you want to know what my wish was?” and I say yes. “I wished that the day Jesus returns for us would come soon, and that we would hear the trumpet call” he smiles as he reveals the secret.

Ah yes, he’s got it. The better portion. The higher desire. The only thing that really satisfies so much more than a roller coaster ride or a trip to Chuck E. Cheese. Heaven will be far more amazing than a camping trip.

If only I could be that wise, that content. I’m spurred on to continue teaching my sons God’s Truth, and training them in the way they should go. Right now, it looks a lot like believing that we can face a hard month without fear. It takes the shape of writing down my blessings and praying them through with my sons when the temptation towards self-pity would rather I succumb to tears. And it’s the day in and day out discipline of joy, even when my car’s wind-shield shatters and my tire goes flat, because our hope is not of this world.

When I see my sons who don’t have a care for this world and they long for Heaven, I realize that they aren’t missing out on anything. I’m humbled and grateful to God that He would use me, in all my frailty as a mother, to point them to Christ.

They may miss out on Disneyland, but nothing can stop me from giving them the Holy Land.

I don’t need to beat myself up for not providing what I think I should, because I already know that I have provided what they need the most.  No, I haven’t failed my sons or deprived them of the good life. It’s clear that they are already living it.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Colossians 3:1-4

YOUR TURN! Do you struggle with feeling like you have not given your kids “enough” or the kind of life you think they need or deserve? How can you change your thinking?