‘No’ is a beautiful word

I’m not a fan of Happy Meals but the recent attacks on them are disturbing. Lawsuits against McDonalds claim that parents can’t say “no” to purchasing the nutritionally deprived meals because of the savvy marketing plan that targets their kids. Children beg and plead for Happy Meals until parents are compelled to give in.

I’m not promoting McDonalds but give me a break! Happy Meals aren’t the problem. Allowing kids a Happy Meal on rare occasion won’t kill them, but it’s our job as parents to teach children to say “no” to over indulgence. Savvy marketing could be an opportunity to train kids to be wise consumers and refuse to be manipulated by compelling campaigns.

Unfortunately, parents are also manipulated by clever marketing. We can’t seem to say “no” to the myriad of images that flash across the screen every day, targeting our dreams and desires. We harm our bodies with products that provide temporary pleasure but rarely deliver long-term satisfaction. We spend ourselves into debt purchasing what we don’t need and then try to blame our financial ruin on someone else. It’s hard to teach what we haven’t learned, but there is hope!

The problem is not McDonalds or Happy Meals. If Happy Meals disappeared tomorrow there would soon be some other decadent delight children would want. We have to stand firm and fight for what’s best for our kids; not by blaming McDonalds, but by dealing with our kids. Saying, “no” to those big pleading eyes, or that screaming voice, takes incredible strength and commitment; but it’s a non-negotiable if we want our kids to grow to maturity. If we don’t teach our kids to say ‘no’ to a toy today, they probably won’t say ‘no’ to far more destructive “toys” in the future.

Surround yourself with parents who are striving to teach their kids to say, ‘no’, not just to drugs, but to every bad choice in life. We need the encouragement and strength we glean from kindred spirits.

Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts. 2 Timothy 2:22 NLT

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