This past weekend was my youngest daughter’s 2nd birthday and while it was a far cry from the Nemo themed, 30-plus attendee shindig we had for our eldest, Little Girl still walked away with plenty of birthday swag.
It was while I was cramming her new puzzle into the shelf of others and stuffing her new dolls into the already over-flowing basket of miscellaneous toys that I started thinking about how much stuff my kids have.
And not just random junk, but expensive, really nice toys and clothes.
Thanks to some very generous friends and family, my kids want for practically nothing.
More often than not, they have the desires of their little hearts filled before they even know what it is they wanted.
It was while I was tossing her new outfits into a washing machine already full to brimming with kid clothes that I go to thinking about what kind of example is set whenever we fall into this mentality that our kids should have everything they want; that they deserve best of the best.
Don’t get me wrong—I think that there’s nothing wrong with the desire to give our kids the best of everything; we love our kids and naturally our impulse is to make them happy.
But we do our kids a disservice when we follow through with those impulses and give our kids everything they want, and the best of whatever they want.
Because when we start to fill up our homes with the things our children want as a way to show them we love them, we are placing an incredible amount of importance on the objects, instead of our children.
Suddenly, our kids start to equate objects with love and they start seeking the next material thing in order to fill the void we have created from too many toys and not enough validation that they, our children, are enough.
Our kids learn to put an inordinate amount of value on the kind and the amount of things they have when in reality, we should be teaching them to focus on their value as individuals.
It is hard to figure in today’s society, but wanting the best for our kids and giving them the best (material good) are two entirely different things.
Call me naïve but I believe there are other things we can do for our kids that will serve them much better in life than constantly plying them with a new toy or outfit:
Teaching our kids the value of a dollar.
Spending quality time reading or talking to our kids.
Setting an example of hard work.
Dealing with our children with honesty and integrity.
Supporting our children.
Loving our kids, no matter what.
All of these things can contribute to the foundation that will yield a person who knows that their worth is not found in the quantity or cost of their material possessions, but the value of their character.