How many of us think that our childhood – even with its deprivations – was the best ever?
Most of us will tell our children that with only one television channel that didn’t come on until late afternoon and that went off at twelve o’clock that night, we found activities to occupy our time. We’ll reminisce about the fact that playing outdoors was a thing, and creativity abounded when we had to approximate the items our parents couldn’t afford – or that they just weren’t going to buy for us.
I recently came across the title of a book entitled “Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World” by Kristen Welch and I wish I’d written it. If I had, I probably would have called it “Their Eyes Are Too Long” – which is what we say when we have enough but still want more. Most parents fall into the trap of wanting to give their children more than they themselves had, which in itself is not a bad thing but maybe we need to include some caveats before we hand the items over.
While waiting for my turn to discuss my daughter’s end of term results with the teacher, I overheard one parent remarking that her son didn’t have any cows to feed or milk before he got to school. It’s possible that the results on the report card didn’t reflect the easy life the young man was living, so I had a feeling that he might be in for a few house-related chores – if he’s lucky.
As my children grow older and can better understand, I’m tying this to that and rewarding effort when it’s made. By the same token, I won’t be shielding them from reality and sacrificing in an attempt to make things seem normal at a time when things clearly aren’t. Going without – unless it’s food – never killed anybody, is something I’m sure my mother must have told me.
The greatest season of entitlement is upon us and with children knowing who the real Santa Claus is, they’re going to have certain “expectations”. Some might even provide lists just in case they think we aren’t listening. What are you going to do when you get yours?