During my quiet time this morning, I had an epiphany...it is a disservice to my children that they are given so much. I am poorly preparing them for when they are older.
I am reading Hints on Child Training by H. Clay Trumbull. Here are some quotes from my current chapter...
" A hard thing in training our loved children is to deny him that which he longs for and which we could give him but which he would better not have."--wow, it is frequent that my kids get little gifts and indulgences.
"Wise withholding is quite as important as generous giving". Chew on that one for a while.
"Few grown persons can have everything they want, everything that love can give, everything that money can buy. Most of them have many reasonable wishes ungratified, many moderate desires unfilled. They have to get along without a great many things which others have, and which they would like. It is largely the early education which gives one proper control over himself and his desires. If in childhood one is taught to deny himself, to yield gracefully much that he longs for, to enjoy the little that he can have in spite of the lack of a great deal which he would like to have, his lot will be an easier and happier one, when he comes to the realities of maturer life, than would be possible to him if, as a child, he had only to express a reasonable wish, to have it promptly gratified."
"For this reason it is that men who were the children of the rich are so often at a disadvantage, in the battle of life, in comparison with those who have risen from comparative poverty."
I grew up wanting often. We didn't have very much and honestly I probably received the same amount of Christmas gifts in all of my childhood as my children receive in any given year. I tend to over-compensate with them. I love giving gifts, it is one of my love languages. I give my children way to much stuff out of love. But boy do I hope that changes now that I have come to this new realization.
My children enjoy their toys. But they do not treasure any of their toys. I can remember treasuring my doll that was rags and ratty hair because it is all I had. I can rememeber treasuring my one wrapped Christmas gift. I want my children to have that experience despite their wealth. (I wouldn't consider ourselves wealthy but our children definitely live in wealth between ourselves and the grandparents.)
"It is not possible that he should think as highly of any one new thing, out of a hundred coming to him in rapid succession, as he would of the only gift of an entire year."
I want my children to be grateful for all they have but even more I want them to be happy and content in adulthood despite not having all they desire. I hope that I can undo what has been done in the last 5 years and truly teach them to be content with a little and to better prepare them for adulthood.
I went through their rooms and the playroom to prepare for Christmas but now I plan to go through it again in light of this new teaching.
This new teaching will be a challenge for me but I hope to be able to look back next January and see a difference. I haven't unloaded my camera from Christmas yet so I haven't blogged about it. When I get around to blogging about that, you will see why changes are necessary. Arianna has a birthday coming up, it will be our first challenge.
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