I love this column my parents wrote.
I especially love this part:
“When kids feel that ‘the world owes them a living’ they lack motivation and discipline and don’t have as many chances to develop their own identity and self esteem. It’s not only that we spoil our kids by giving them everything, we also deny them the satisfaction and confidence that comes from earning things and the added appreciation that results from delayed gratification.”
The article has nothing whatsoever to do with Christmas, but reading it has made me think about the stuff I buy my kids for Christmas. Really, how much is too much? What should I wait and have them earn? What do they really need? And in the long run, how much more do I help them in life by helping them learn to really give as much as spoiling them with what they want?
I guess this isn’t the best time to bring this up because part of what makes Christmas so great for us parents is giving and it’s so fun for kids to receive…there’s nothing like being given a wonderful gift. I just hope that in the long run they will remember that saving up and earning things and all that “delayed gratification” jazz is so wonderful too.
Growing up in our family we kids always gave each other our gifts on Christmas Eve rather that in the midst of the big hurrah on Christmas morning. It was great because we could focus on the real GIVING rather than receiving just for that night. I remember those nights so crystal clear…mostly the feeling of being SO excited to give something I had really saved up for. But I also remember the details of some little gifts…silly things like getting a piece of wood from my little brother one year with my name scrawled across the front in his preschool handwriting…and his face filled with sheer delight as he gave it to me so proudly.
We do the same thing in our family. Christmas Eve is my very favorite. And I hope that some day my kids will remember that the “giving” was just as much fun as the “getting.”
So now that I have digressed so very much from my point, here are links to some other columns my parents have been writing lately. May they make you think too…