Friday, April 10, 2009

World of Replacements

I don't know what it is, but somehow my kids have it in their heads that anything, and everything, can and should be replaced. Immediately.

The other night, Seth tried to take Woody's (from Toy Story) shirt off, which cannot be removed, which resulted in him ripping in half. (I suspect a pair of scissors was involved too, but he claims they weren't. Hard to tell with a 7 year old.) While he has another, better, newer Woody that he plays with far more, he came running to me, two halves of Woody in hand, immediately asking if we could go to the store and get a new one. I told him no. "Well, how 'bout later today?" "No." "Well, how about Dad takes me tomorrow?" "No." When Jeremy got home, the dialog started up again. Jeremy told him "maybe for Easter." Guess what? He's not getting it for Easter either. On principle, and to teach him an important life lesson, its not happening. No way, no how.

I don't think I am a mean mom, per se, but I do want to teach my kids important lessons in life, one of them being, be grateful for what you do have, and not greedy for the things you don't. Hence the reason neither myself, Jeremy, or the Easter Bunny are bringing Seth a new Woody. I mean, he's already got 1 more than a lot of kids do, and that is enough.

And, mind you, this isn't the first incident like this. It just bugs me so much that he has hardly any care or concern for his own things, but then the minute they break (or he ruins them), he thinks he is entitled to a replacement.

I don't get it... Jeremy works his tail off so that we can have the things we have, and I do my best not to spend more than we need to. And he does an exemplary job of modeling work ethic; you don't get something without working for it, and sometimes you have to work for a long time to save up for something you really want.

The more I have stewed on this, the more I have realized, I think our culture has a LOT to do with this! We live in the age of immediacy. If we want something, we can get it. Today. If we need something, we can obtain it. Right now. If its not in our immediate vicinity, we can order it online or drive an hour to get it. If its rare, we can still get it (for the right price). With the internet, we can find it. Our whole culture is immersed in this "gimme, gimme," immediate gratification mindset! I mean, whatever happened to working hard and actually earning something, rather than getting a hand-out??? (Oh boy...I could totally go on a political rabbit trail right now, but I'll spare you.)

And not to go on a tangent, but have you seen an average teenager's work ethic these days??? (Not talking about you, aren't typical, but that is a very good thing!) Its appaling!! In the age of credit cards, layaways, "bill me laters," payment plans, and parents who don't say no, kids feel an entitlement to "something for nothing." This is the "norm" of the future generation. Its truly scary and maddening!

I have been trying to teach my kids the difference between want and need, and between adequacy and abundance. I told them that God has called us to be grateful for what we have and to share from our abundance; that we only keep what we need, and give from our abundance to those who are in need of the things we have too much of. With this lesson, I got Seth to reluctantly relinquish some of his outgrown school clothes for his school's coat closet. *sigh* But the lesson was mostly lost. The next day, Woody broke and it was back to square one.

So how in the world, in this day and age, with all the outside influences doing their thing, am I supposed to instill this concept in my children? What do I do to get it to "click?" I don't honestly know. I am doing my best, but man, its tough to fight the flow!! ..But then again, contentment, hard work, gratefulness, and sharing are tough concepts for a lot of adults to wrap their brains (and hearts) around, much less a child. Still...I feel like my efforts are largely in vain. Oh well. I guess I have to just keep trying and hope I raise 'em right in the end.


Beth said...

My mom tells me all the time that our society today feels the need to make their children out to be "Royalty" and that these children live up to that role! She says that "these kids are just kids just like the rest of us were once upon a time" but these kids these days dont believe they are equal. They are far superior and they have parents who'll back them up. Very sad. I agree with you on child rearing. Just because my son says he wants something does not mean I run out and get it for him. He earns a small allowance and if he wants something bad enough, he can save up for it himself. Toys are not given by my husband and I randomly. Birthdays and holidays only except for the special various occasion and report cards are deserving, if A's and B's are acquired, of a $20 toy at Walmart. No more.

Elizabeth said...

Ah... Kinderd souls we are!

Michelle said...

Ahh can I completely RELATE right now to this. I've been trying to teach our children the same thing. Cassandra's birthday was this week and she just had an expectation that everyone that showed up at the house HAD to have a present for her. (granted most did) but when they didn't show up with a bag or a card she was ASKING for it. I can't tell you how wrong that was and how I can't get that thru her head that it is wrong to ask and have an expectation.
It's going to be rough raising these children of ours. We just have to keep trying and continue to instill in them that we are doing this for their own good and we know that this will make them better people in the near future! (((HUGS)))) We are with you in this Meg!!