Parenting Parables: Big vs Small Reward

Last Tuesday, the wife and kids went to the Bronx zoo with friends from church. Kids are so funny, just like small adults, really. The kids wanted to finish watching Curious George before we left, even though we were trying to tell them they were going to the Zoo (we didn’t let them). They knew they were going to the Zoo but were too into “Monkey George,” as Eva calls him.

Then, as I drove them up to H’s house, Sam was talking about playing with his train table. H has a cool playroom. Even though the Zoo (Bronx Zoo, mind you) was the big, exciting plan for the day, all Sam could think of was playing at H’s house.

You and I are like that. God promises us so much in the end (a lot now, too) but we get exciting about the little things. And little things that even impede or crowd out what’s most important. We focus on weak, short-term pleasure when God wants us to enjoy so much more.

One of my favorite quotes by C.S. Lewis is also quoted often by John Piper as he teaches on Christian Hedonism:

“…if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased. (C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans,1965], pp. 1-2.)


9 thoughts on “Parenting Parables: Big vs Small Reward

  1. Oh, we got him so good! We had it waiting on the counter by the door when he got home from work. He didn’t even have time to think about what it was, and he said he immediately went for his pocket knife (it was much too big for a shoe!;)) It was hilarious! Well, except for the near heart attack.

    Great thoughts to go along with the story, too.

  2. Brian,
    ‘Wonderful post yet again man!
    Your blog is one of my favs.
    I hope it is okay that I added your blog to my favs.
    I try to read it every day health permitting.

    I was wondering if you and your readers wouldn’t mind stopping by my blog and leaviing a comment for a family in extreme need. Please…You could make a difference or at least encourage them during this difficult time. In all my years of ministry I have never heard of a family going through a trial like this one.

    I love you brother.
    Keep up the great posts.
    In Him,
    Kinney Mabry

  3. Brian, we went into NYC (June 1979) just before Lisa was born and purchased a Pentax camera at a discount store and then went to the Bronx Zoo. After that we made an annual trek with our kids. It is a great zoo. The Philadelphia Zoo is pretty good as well.

    Fortunately your kids will grow up and figure out what is really valuable. Hopefully we will too.

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