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Controlling Ourselves for Our Children’s Sake by Linda Swain
I am not an ancient human. I am in my forties and I can clearly remember as a kid, that holiday presents consisted of a new dress, a watch, maybe a Barbie (GI Joe for boys) and a paint by numbers portrait of a horse. Now, the latest toys and electronics for any age kid, comes with price tags over $50, and in many cases, a monthly payment plan. The latest technology that comes out every 3 months is killing us and helping us go into more debt.
My take on this is that many of us were raised by parents who experienced the depression as kids and put themselves through college, got a good job, and raised us to work hard and appreciate everything we had. So in order to have something additional to a modest wardrobe that included the standard school shoes, church shoes and sneakers, I started working in a deli at age 14 for $2.00 an hour after school making people sandwiches like liverwurst and peanut butter and scrubbing pots.
One night as I was scrubbing caked on pea soup from an enormous stainless steel tub, I lifted up my Brillo pad and said, "As God as my Witness, I will never scrub pots again!"
So I worked hard and as the children came along, I bought them everything that I ever wanted and didn・t have. I really believe the things we got our children made us happier than they make them. In no time, that very thing we bought them became boring or out of date and they bugged us for something else. The crazy thing is the something else actually ended up in our house.
I believe all of my children will say my husband and I are loving and involved parents. In fact, they would say we are strict parents. I believe, however, in many cases that we have given them too much too soon without the feeling of really earning the reward.
This economic crisis is a wake up call to many of us about how we are focusing too much on the stuff, and not enough on the substance. I just taught my 22 year old daughter how to sew. I sewed when I was 9.
We really need to consider what our children really need rather than thinking they will turn into responsible adults by always giving them what they want.
The interesting thing is that people act collectively. We feel the same peer pressure and kids feel. There has to be a consensus among all parents that we will curb our enthusiasm to appease our children・s latest and fleeting desires. I・m in are you?
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