The little boy drops a bowl of cereal. The bowl breaks and stuff is everywhere. The boy cries. The mom smiles and consoles him. There is no anger or scolding. There is only… a Swiffer! And joy abounds.
The man has heart pains. But because of the magical pill he no longer has heart pains. He now feels younger. Now, all his time is spent laughing as he plays hide-and-seek or fishing with his grandchildren.
I hate these commercials. But why do I hate them? Do I not want people to love their kids and grand-kids? Do I prefer that people lose their temper instead of being cool, steady, and joyful?
No, that’s not it.
The first reason i hate them is because I am not that perfect. I’d have yelled at the kid and thrown him in the corner while grumbling about his clumsiness as I cleaned up his mess. And when I retire, I look forward to spending time playing cards with my grandkids, but I’m probably not going to play hide and seek. Too much work. So, yes, I see my own imperfections in the perfect unreality of commercials.
The second reason I hate them is because I don’t believe they mirror most realities, and they’re trying to sell me something by lying to me about the fact that all my anger and imperfections can now magically be solved by this particular product. That’s a lie.
But really, my dislike for all this goes much deeper. I may be overthinking this, but I am utterly annoyed by the hypocrisy of our culture. We sure love our kids in commercials. They are our joy and our hope. But in a society that has killed over 50 million kids in the womb and prevented however many other pregnancies because of the contraceptive mentality we have totally embraced, the idea that we really, really love our kids so much because they mean everything to us is simply a lie. They don’t.
That may seem harsh, and I don’t mean it as a universal statement that applies to everyone. But I do mean it as an overarching cultural statement.
Imagine the following sentiment from Mr. and Mrs. ABC: “Oh, little Johnny and Jenna are just the joys of our lives. We can’t imagine what life would be without them. They are such blessings, and it’s so unreal watching them grow up! The time flies by so quickly!”
“Oh, so are you planning on having any more children?”
“Good, God, no! We can hardly handle the two we have!”
So… which is it? The “money can’t put a price tag on the little darlings that bring the ultimate joy to our lives” parents, or the “I can’t handle this” parents. Because saying you can’t handle something, to me, is not something you say about a blessing. It’s something you say about a burden.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not saying it isn’t normal to think that you can’t handle life at times, including the kids. This is perfectly normal. In fact, sometimes I think we need those times to allow us to refocus on God. Because when we can’t handle something, we must humbly turn to God in our humanness and ask for help, and admit that we are not God, we are not in complete control, and we are imperfect. The answers that God gives in these times may not be what we desire. We get tested and refined and strengthened so that we can not only handle what we have, but a little bit more. And to the extent we can’t, we need to lean on Him all the more. This isn’t all about happy happy joy joy.
So, in our human ingenuity, we’ve turned to abortion and contraception as the answers to our burdens – children – all the while putting on a face of love and joy and happiness over the children we have, as long as we don’t have enough to disrupt our lifestyle. And this somewhat peeves me.
But, I guess a commercial about a dad with 9 kids doling out a punishment while pulling out an old dishrag he found for a quarter at a garage sale probably wouldn’t inspire consumerism. So, I’ll just have to live with the fact that people on commercials love their kids. At least the ones they kept.