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This weekend, my wonderful husband chose to be super helpful around the house. For that, I am very thankful. During his time off from work, he mulched the leaves, cleaned the gutters, watched the children so I could sleep after shopping all night, stayed home while I went out to the Star City Comedy Club with good friend, Jannine, got the Christmas decorations out of the attic and did the dishes. And, you know what? I didn't even ask him to do
For the second time in three months, I started to clean up a wet mess. We bypassed the bath towel route this time because I didn't want to add to my backed-up laundry pile. Instead, he grabbed the mop and I used the dust mop. He would swing his tool across the sudsy floor, and I would push back, trying to keep the water and bubbles from spreading even further. It felt like we were playing a gentle game of hockey, or participating in that weird-ass Olympic sport, curling.
This whole ordeal got me to thinking (bad idea, I know!). A lot of times, we think that if a little is good, then a lot is a whole lot better. Like the little squirt of dawn turning into a good half cup being poured into the dishwasher. We have a tendency to go for the overkill, especially with our children.
Christmas is coming. I have a difficult time moderating how many gifts my kids receive. I just love to give them things and there are so many toys and items on the market that they would love to have. Once I get started buying presents, I find it so hard to stop. But, is more really better when it comes to giving things to our kids? Or, should they learn the life lessons that go along with disappointment and/or hard work?
While waiting in line to shop at Toys R Us on Thanksgiving night, I spoke with Jessica, a young mother of a two year old boy. Her son will be receiving many things this Christmas, among them a 32" flat screen television. Her reasoning? He needs something to entertain him. Feel free to roll your eyes. Inwardly, I did, too. My response, "My kids are getting an aquarium." Jessica's mother, who was along for the ride, just about died laughing.
You see, over the years I have come to realize that the bigger and better presents aren't always the best. If you get your two year old a giant tv, then what is there to look forward to as he grows up? Hell, we don't even have a tv that big in my home. When Alex was young, he was overly spoiled. I couldn't wait to get him the next best thing for his "age." However, I failed to realize that just because he was in the appropriate "age range," and I was able to buy the items, they weren't necessarily suitable playthings for his stage.
When you jump ahead and buy anything and everything for your children, they lose more than they gain. The kids no longer become enthralled with the gifts they receive, they become spoiled, and they lose interest in their toys more quickly. They don't learn the value of hard work with suitable rewards, nor do they experience the thrill of receiving something they have longed for. Things become disposable. In general, items lose their value when they are given by the bucket load. While a squirt of generosity is good, a cupful just creates a mess.
How will you balance your desire to give it all with your children's need of moderation and value this season? What are the top gifts on your list? Will you go all out, or will you (attempt) to keep it simple and sane?