Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Instant Gratification

When Christmas decorations and adverts start appearing in October you have to start to wonder what's gone wrong! I'm no great fan of Halloween, but I do prepare some goody bags every year (into which I add a small leaflet about the gospel message of Jesus) -- but this year someone actually knocked on the door to "trick or treat" on the 30th, and they were annoyed when I told them it wasn't Halloween yet and to come back tomorrow (they never did). And then we have to listen to fireworks going off for days -- if not weeks -- before Guy Fawkes night. What is it about our society that tolerates, and maybe even expects, this kind of behaviour? It's a measure of greed and instant gratification mixed together. And the sad thing about it is that I don't think it makes people any happier.

I know this isn't a new topic, and other people have written about this more eloquently. But it seems to be getting worse every year. Are we going to become so greedy and shallow that we judge everything by how instantly obtainable it is? Are we not prepared to wait for special occasions and celebrate them at the time they are due to take place? It's like the donkey in Shrek 2 saying "are we there yet?" and not being prepared to enjoy the ride.

It's allied to the erosion of thresholds too. My 15 year old foster daughter goes to see 12A and 15 certificate horror movies that ten years ago would have been 18 certificate. I regularly see very young children being taken to 12A rated movies by adults (presumably their parents). I applaud the Australian psychologist who wants to ban clothing that sexualises young children: padded bras for pre teens, etc. And then there's the advertising I blogged about recently. It's as if there are no holds barred anymore - anything is OK.

I think we urgently need to relearn the ability to enjoy our life as it is lived without yearning for Christmas to come early or to arrive at our destination now instead of when we get there, or to want to be adults before our time.


  1. Our society seems to want everything earlier or now. I agree with your comment "It's a measure of greed and instant gratification mixed together."
    Take for example the fact that 'Average consumer borrowing via credit cards, motor and retail finance deals, overdrafts and unsecured personal loans has risen to £4,433 per average UK adult at the end of September 2010.' Accessed 11/12/10
    Gone are the days when we saved up for something and had to wait, now it's more like 'I'll have it now and pay for it later'
    Think the same is happening with Christmas and other celebrations. I'd be interested to find out how many households celebrate Christmas for it's real meaning. The same for Halloween, Guy Fawke's night, Easter. These 'holidays' are now very, overly commercialised, the main thing about Christmas seems to be what gifts to buy or what gifts I'd like to receive. Basically greed!
    I only recently after becoming a parent, understood the saying .. 'don’t wish your time away'
    Up till then I seemed to be forever saying I wish I was 18,21 etc, or I wish I'd finished this course, I wish this baby would hurry up and be born .. the list goes on lol.
    Only now do I appreciate that time flies by way to quickly as it is without wishing it away!

  2. Thanks for your comment, Vikki. I certainly agree with your remark about Christmas. Personally my family does celebrate Christmas for its true meaning (the birth of Jesus), but when my daughters were younger it was very hard to try and counter the culture of materialism that was all around them - to them it could seem a little like punishment not to give in to the media hype, which wasn't our intention at all.