Giving my kids the good life, or is it so good?

giving my kids the good life chapter37

We all want our kids to have a better life than we had growing up. Even if you had a great child hood, I think it’s an idea that just comes naturally to everyone. I wonder though, if that goal is really doing more to harm our kids than help them. Take birthday’s for an example. When I was a child, we didn’t have Pinterest perfect birthday parties with cupcakes flawlessly matching the hand constructed pendent banner complete with a table creaking under the weight of gifts…a scene which seems to be the norm for children now. Did I suffer from it? Did I feel deprived as a child? Not exactly, I adored my birthday! I had a homemade cake, and usually one gift from each member of my immediate family. If I was especially lucky, Grandma and Grandpa would send me a few dollars. Birthday’s were looked forward to with immense anticipation! And, when it was all said and done, my parents made me do the unthinkable thing.  I was actually instructed to sit down, and write a hand written thank you note to anyone who gave me a gift! (Truth be told, that part I did actually dislike quite a bit, and considered it an unjust hardship…) When I look back and think, I’d like to give my daughters better than that, I must also consider what it is exactly that I am trying to give them.

If giving them a “better birthday” teaches them that they should expect their elders and peers to give them all their heart could wish, am I truly doing them a favor? For, when they are grown, they will be sadly disappointed when their wishes are not so easily gratified. By giving them more than their little minds can even absorb, will the day mean anything more to them? Probably not, not to mention it does little to prepare them for the day when those around them may have little to give. Heaven help the poor boy who marries our high maintenance daughters and tries to support them without a six digit income! Will they feel more loved for my excess? I think not. What memories of your childhood do you hold the closest?…they most likely have nothing to do with what your parents gave you, but more to do with the times you spent together.

The pink plastic pony will fade in the sun and be long forgotten in two months time…but things like gratefulness, don’t fade. By forming the habit of over indulging, I am teaching the little heart to expect more of the same. If great importance is placed on the amount of good a person can do for me, well then, people soon become a means of gratification, just things to be used to get my way.

I’m not against fine things for my kids, but I ought to never let the focus be those things. I’d rather they had nothing and grow up to be sensitive, unspoiled and unselfish adults. I don’t think it has to be a “one or the other” deal though, it’s all a matter of where I put the emphasis. Instead of “Oh look at your new pretty pink coat!”…I can switch the emphasis to, “Oh wasn’t that so nice of Mrs. So and So to buy this for you, I know she works so hard! Let’s not forget to thank her next time we see her.” A small thing it may be, but kids are smart. They will know in a minute where I place the value of the gift… squarely on the person behind the gift.

 If all I give my girls is nicer toys, prettier clothes, and better opportunities than I had, and I deprive the character of my girls, than I’ve actually handed them a worse life than the ones my parents worked so hard to give me. A better life is only better if I’ve helped them become more the women God created them to be.

Matthew 6:19-21  Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 

This is our day on the blog to refocus. Find more refocus challenge posts HERE.

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About Abby

I'm a mom and blogger. I love all things creative! Follow along at
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6 Responses to Giving my kids the good life, or is it so good?

  1. What a wonderful, beautiful inspiring post. Such and true and heartfelt message.

  2. I really love this post. I wonder the same thing/ struggle with the same thing all the time. I want to give my children the parties and the presents, but I want them to understand that they are not necessary for a happy, grateful life. I do think that small statements make a difference. I think my kids are getting it, too! I do make them write a real thank you note! No texts or emails…they must write the note! :)

  3. Valerie says:

    Abby, this was a heart-felt written post and so full of truth. Thank you for taking the time to share this with us! I know I can also begin to feel dissatisfied with my own life if I start visiting Pinterest too much…rather than being grateful for what I do have. Hugs. Dropping by from Tweaking it Tuesday.

  4. Petra says:

    Great post :-) If most of us remember a happy childhood, and want to copy it somewhat, why do we then try to do “more” for our children?! It’s a funny question. I had very little material things but lots of love and great family friends. I had all I needed – a roof over my head, a comfy bed, healthy simple food on the plate, and cuddles. What a GREAT childhood!

  5. I couldn’t agree with you more. My kids are overly spoiled, and I terribly regret letting my in-laws do that to them. However, at the time I had no choice but to let it happen. They are slowly learning that life isn’t about what new material item they can get. It’s more about how much time you get to spend with those you love.

    Love this post!

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