I remember when I was a kid, the only video game I was able to play was an Atari game where there were to one-inch lines across from one another on the T.V. screen and something that appeared to be a tennis ball in the form of a blip bouncing back and forth. Yep! We’re talking mid-seventies here!
I also have vivid memories of how I had much less than what my kids have. Now that I start to think about it, this had nothing to do with my parents providing me with less luxuries. It had everything to do with the fact that there really weren’t nearly as many games for kids as there are now and my parents basically had it right; they were trying their hardest not to spoil me so I could appreciate what I had.
These days, kids are so inundated in game after game that it sometimes gets confusing even for them when they are trying to make up their minds about what exactly they want to ask their parents for and it seems there are no games out there they can really latch onto for a long while. Should they ask for a Nintendo WII, an Xbox, or a Sony Playstation?
My little boy buys a WII U game for $39.99, spends Saturday and Sunday playing the game intensely, and by Monday afternoon the game is no longer challenging because he has reached the highest level and rescued the princess! He promptly goes back online in search of the next game he wants to buy and of course, he buys these games with his own money; I give him 8 dollars a week in allowance money so he plans on buying these games every 5 to 6 weeks or so.
I believe my parents did well in teaching me to appreciate what I had. Back then in 6th grade, I didn’t wear a school uniform but I could count on one really special thin silver disco belt that all my friends loved, two pairs of jeans that would last me the whole week, only five shirts that I would rotate each day, and a pair of sneakers without holes in them and with plenty of room so my toes wouldn’t crinkle up and become deformed!
I loved my clothes and I thought I was with it!
My parents always taught me to cherish my family and they led by example as we would visit at least one relative every weekend whether it was a barbecue or just to drop by and say hello. They started giving me the allowance of a whole dollar at the age of 12 and I began saving money at the start of every year knowing I would have $52.00 by December 31! Of course, every long now and then, I would ask my mom or dad to cover a certain expense or to buy me a certain toy everybody else had and sometimes they could and sometimes they couldn’t. I recall how I would thank them for considering it and expressed how I understood. I know they were proud of me because they often told me; as I look back, I sure hope they were proud of themselves for teaching me the important values I try to teach my kids.
It’s so easy for kids to take things for granted, especially when their parents are incredibly busy with long work hours with little strength left to come home and dedicate themselves completely to their children.
However, as parents, we need to place a strong emphasis on teaching children gratitude. We can lead by example, taking the opportunity to thank someone for a kind act in the presence of our children. We can volunteer with our children and show them firsthand how many other children don’t have the luxuries or the advantages they have. We can teach them to save their own money and to be wise in how they spend it instead of randomly and consistently showering them with gifts. We can teach our kids to donate any unused toys to charities and explain to them the true meaning of giving to those in need. We should encourage them to thank their teachers for all the hard work they do to make sure they get an excellent education.
We don’t need to teach our kids to become spoiled brats by giving them everything and anything they need. Doing so will hurt your child in the long run because he or she will not be able to truly appreciate anything in life and this includes their relationships with their mates. There’s nothing wrong with teaching your child that nothing comes easy in life and when they do get that something they have always wanted, they will appreciate it that much more.