My kids are not spoiled. They do get things, on birthdays and at Christmas but my kids do not want for anything. I want my kids to have a good life! And then there are those moments where I feel like those real housewives’ moms that raise ignorant and spoiled children!
This morning (European time) I wake the kids up for school, I grab my coffee, do a little homework. The boys begin and take their time in the morning, the usual stuff. Then it happened, shrieks of “oh no!” echoed through the house! My youngest ate the last of the chocolatey cereal. My oldest had tears welling up “What is there left to eat?” he cried! With my youngest shoveling spoonfuls of cereal milk into his mouth, satisfied. I got the look of “how could you let this happen” from my oldest. I knew by that look that this was going to be a rough morning!
It was cereal. Nothing major, we have other items for breakfast; bread, peanut butter, butter. But that look, his eyes filled with tears over cereal. He acted as if he had nothing to eat, that he was going to starve. And I stood there thinking to myself, “Oh no! I am raising spoiled kids.” They cry over not having a specific cereal, over not having enough nutella! They were becoming snobs! Did I fail? It is the Christmas season and there is more to it than getting nice things. In light of current situation and political opponents spouting hatred, Christmas is about sharing in hope and peace. You have kids running away from their homes because of hateful people and you have people back in the states that do not want them because they are hateful people. My kids have it good and I want them to grow up knowing that the world is greater than theirs.
I didn’t grow up with a lot. I want my kids to have more than me but to not be spoiled. I want them to appreciate what they have and never take it for granted. So the fact that their favorite cereal ran out was met with tears, got to me. It was cereal! There are refugee kids that don’t even have the proper shoes for the European winter and they cried about cereal. Have I failed my kids? Am I teaching them to be ungrateful? I do not want them to feel entitled, I want them to be grateful adults.
With the Christmas season (YES I SAY CHRISTMAS!) It is easy to become ungrateful and want want want! The older I am getting the more I have come realize that I want things but know that they do not come easy. I always encourage my kids to work hard for the things they want and deserve. This morning was a bit of an eye-opener.
This Christmas, no crazy huge gifts for the kids like last year. We employed the 4 gifts system: want, need, read and wear. The want, I made it very clear it could not be a super huge expensive item. It needed to be an item that they would use. So often they would get a toy and play with it for a little bit and then it goes upstairs, into a bin and forgotten. The will need to use it a lot. The need would be practical, a watch, a book, a camera. Those were things I would be okay giving my kids. I wanted them to really look and think and consider why they wanted/needed it and that it was something that they would be grateful for. It is a great way to really appreciate what we have! If you are thinking about doing this, Jones Designs has a great post about this as well. Makes you think and be grateful.
Christmas is a beautiful time of year. A time of reflection and appreciation. I want to grow more and be a better parent to my kids. I need to appreciate what is around me and stop whining. I have a long list of books to read and I want to wear my heart on my sleeve. Those are my 4 what are yours?