I’m not one who is easily influenced by today’s trends. I like what I like, and they may not necessarily be what’s cool at the moment. Actually, sometimes I only have cool (but very useful) stuff because my husband or mom or friends give them to me as gifts haha. Anyway, this is something we want our kids to learn. To be wise and discerning, and not easily be drawn to the world’s trends.
T.EMPORARY. Trends are temporary. Styles of clothes, shoes, bags, gadgets, homes, even diets and workouts change so quickly. One day it’s in, and the next day, it’s out. All sorts of lists of new establishments and food to try. Vacation spots and unique experiences to put on the bucket list (and hopefully not the “bakit?! list”). The newest movies, shows, bands and artists to check out. The latest toys and apps to play. I’m sure most of us want to be updated and relevant. But why chase the coolest and the latest? Why put a premium on commodities that are so fleeting? When we purchase, or dive into, or buy into something, it shouldn’t be just because it’s cool (or hot or lit — depending on which generation you belong to — I myself can’t seem to bring myself to say hot or lit, haha), or because it’s new. Let’s please have a more sane, better, bigger reason than that. Let’s ask ourselves if they are useful and helpful, if they add value to our life or other people’s.
R.ECKLESS. Following trends may cause us to make reckless, rash decisions. Things change so fast, and trying to keep up with them produces impulsive actions. I believe there is much wisdom in delayed gratification. We get to think, to mull it over, to give it some time. Usually, when the motivation is just the trend’s novelty, the interest quickly wanes. This happens to our kids often. They tell us about a new toy that their friends have, a cool but expensive brand of clothes, a new diy idea (yeah, like allergy-causing slime), a pet, an event they want to join or watch, a place they want to visit. We don’t readily say yes because we want to know first what we’ll be getting ourselves into. We want to figure out what it will entail (for us and for them), and if we are willing AND able to do it. It teaches our kids to wait, to pray, to think, to weigh what’s important to them and what’s really not, and then to either let go or persevere. Trust me, as a parent, there have been times that I’ve kicked myself in the head, so to speak, for saying yes to something that they wanted but was not the best idea. There are still moments that I’m torn between giving them what they want and being wise, and I end up telling them that I can feel that this is one of those times that I’ll be kicking myself in the head if I say yes. I already see the results, and so wisdom wins and I say no. As adults, we know what it’s like to make reckless decisions that leave us with consequences and with regret. We realize later on that we shouldn’t have jumped the gun, or that we shouldn’t have jumped at all.
E.XCESS. Trends are exciting and fun, but they potentially lead to excess. Trends cost money. Chasing fads leaves us with a lot of waste — items that are still good, but are no longer used because we’ve moved on to the latest model. Chasing trends may cost us more money than we actually have. Let’s not get into debt just so we can be like the cool kids (like the cool kids). Have money? Let’s not spend it all. My kids sometimes come to me and tell me that they want to purchase something, and that they have the money for it. They’re willing to blow their savings for 1 concert ticket or 1 expensive pair of shoes. I ask them, then what? Of course they say it’s okay because they think money grows on trees (or more aptly, the bank gives us endless supply of cash), but when they actually need the money for something important, they’ll no longer have the means. It’s wise to have savings, especially for a rainy day. Have money to spare? Okay. Occasional splurging is okay. Bless someone, treat yourself, do something nice with or for the family. I’m all for that, especially when, for me personally, it’s travel.
N.ECESSARY. The next question we ought to ask ourselves is “Is this necessary?” “Is it necessary for me to have or do this?” “Do I need this?” “Do I need it now?” If the answer is yes and you have the resources to purchase and/or commit to it, then by all means, go for it. But more often than not, we don’t really need it. We can live without it. Or we can do it another time, catch the next opportunity. We ask our kids this all the time. If it’s necessary for school, of course we do our best to get it for them. But again, it teaches them to think, to work within a budget, and to think outside of themselves. We have three children, and we need to think of all three of them, not just the one (or two) who wants something. So they have to think of their siblings as well. They have to think about what works for our family, and not just for themselves. We also remind them that even though we do have the budget for something, we still need to make wise choices with our finances. There are better, more important, more worthwhile things to spend on than the latest trend. Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial (1 Cor 10:23). And there is a right time for everything.
D.ISTRACTING. Trends tend to distract us from our goals. From our priorities. They keep our time, focus, energy, and resources from going where they should. There are trends that do help us pursue our goal, that add to our skill and knowledge, that are useful in our profession, that are fun for bonding and de-stressing, that promote family togetherness, make us grow and all that — good things to invest in. And there are those that don’t. Those that are useless and fruitless. We need to sift through these fads with wisdom. It may be a need, but not the priority. It may be affordable, but not necessary. It may be a good opportunity, but the timing is off. It may be fun, but too pricey. It may sound good, but it would tear you away from your family. We need wisdom, prayer, and at times godly counsel. It’s quite easy to be influenced by ads, commercials, and friends. Our kids are especially prone to this. Even though some seem harmless, we like to research, ask around first. We remind them that not everything good, is necessarily good or right for us. Not everything available, we must avail. Not everything advertised, suggested or offered, we must take. It teaches them to think, determine their priorities, and to be responsible with those priorities.
S.ATISFYING. I always hear this from my girls, though not necessarily about trends – it’s so satisfying! Following trends and accumulating stuff can be satisfying! We feel happy, giddy even. To own the cool thing. To experience the latest craze. To belong to the in crowd. It gives us some satisfaction. Sadly, it’s a false sense of satisfaction. It’s satisfaction that does not last, so we end up wanting more and more because we chase that feeling of pleasure. This is the time we must dig into our hearts. The time to pray. We might be trying to fill a void, striving to make ourselves happy. None of these, however, will ever fill the emptiness. Material things, experiences, people – they’re all temporary, all inconstant, all limited. We need the eternal, the unchanging, the unlimited source of satisfaction, and that is only God Himself. With God, there is true joy and contentment. No more striving, no more chasing useless and fruitless things. We gain the ability to see God’s goodness and be grateful for every blessing. Because God, if He really is our source, is more than enough.
Blessed are those who find wisdom,
those who gain understanding,
for she is more profitable than silver
and yields better returns than gold.
She is more precious than rubies;
nothing you desire can compare with her.
Long life is in her right hand;
in her left hand are riches and honor.
Her ways are pleasant ways,
and all her paths are peace.
She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her;
those who hold her fast will be blessed. Proverbs 3:13-18
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Psalm 103:1-5