Quite a few years ago, I made the comment that a parent cannot possibly, and probably should not, get everything his or her child wants for Christmas or birthdays. A friend looked at me in absolute horror and said that, when parenting, you want to get your children everything they want, just to see them smile and be happy.
Now that I am a parent, I understand the statement. I want Sydney to be happy. Nothing makes me feel better than to hear him giggle, to see him totter over to me to give me a hug or a kiss, to hear his excited voice as he calls out "Mama!" or "Dah-dee!" But, in a sense, I still hold true to my original statement.
My reasoning for this is simple. Christmas and birthdays are not about presents. One should not send out copious invitations to graduation, just to see how much money or how many gifts one can receive. Life is not about what others can buy you. Humans have allowed greed to take over their lives, and it shows in society, as a whole.
I am pretty proud of myself this holiday season. Steve and I were very responsible and did not allow the season to get out of hand, as so often happens. We restricted ourselves with the gifts we purchased each other. And since Syd is only 15 months old, we were conscientious of how much we spent on him. In essence, we bought him things we knew he needed - a few clothes and only the toys that brought him to his next step of development. It is so easy to walk down the aisles of the stores and think "Oh! He'd love that!" and go wild. But we didn't.
The same friend who looked at me, appalled with my statement, is now beginning to rethink her response. Her child is responding the way someone who has received everything he wants will - "Is this all I get?" I cannot fathom how that parent must feel to hear her child say this. And if this cycle continues, this child will pass this down to his children, as well. I know there will be days when I wonder if I'm going overboard with Sydney. But I desperately want to make sure he grows up without that entitlement, and cherishing family and friends over material objects. I've taught those entitled kids, and they are never satisfied with their grades, and it is never their fault that they didn't do well. I don't want to see Syd act like that. Ever.
So take a moment and reflect on the season, and on life as a whole. Consider what you're teaching your family, and if it is the path you want to continue down. Do not look to today to see if your choice is correct. Look to tomorrow. Consider the etchings in the clay you are molding that will become hardened and permanent over time.