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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Will my children have Cordelia?

Christmas this year has been very interesting. God has given the gift of knowledge to me this year and I pray that I he will present the wisdom soon. There are a lot of areas in my life that as a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother are out of my control and influence. Sometimes just the bare fact of being a woman takes a lot out of my hands.

You cannot rationally discuss a topic with an emotionally-erratic human being. It's not possible. You cannot expect others to do the right thing, you can only hope. Christmas present wise has been good to me but Christmas is so much more than that to me. If I received nothing other than hugs from my family, I'd be fine. The world keep turning and if I were upset- that would be a sign of needed improvement within me. It doesn't matter what I choose to buy my children for Christmas- no matter how educational, wholesome and good the items I select willl be- there will always be the Polly Pockets, the 140 matchbox cars, Polo shirts and numerous other items that I feel are completely useless if not harmful for our family.

At first I felt horrible that not only did I buy as if our kids only Christmas were to be with us, but other family members went overboard and beyond overboard. I felt horrible because I would rather my kids get 3 presents each (in my head) and appreciate them for all they are worth instead of getting 20 presents and treating them as if they were dispensible. I had a doll when I was 8 that was made of porcelain and played "My Favorite Things" from Sound of Music and I carried "Cordelia" everywhere. I loved that doll so! Would have I loved her as much if I had received 4 porcelain dolls? I don't think so.

Those who do not have, appreciate what they do have.
Those who have an abundance tend to take for granted what they do have.

Isn't that a fact of life? Please, tell me it is and I'm not the crazy one. It seems as if I'm the only one who understands this as well as the difference between "need" and "want" and that it IS OKAY to want something and NOT get it. It is HEALTHY! Those who get everything they want don't have aspirations, dreams and goals to work towards. Right?

I'm not as worried about Camille as I am Danny. As the firstborn and a girl, Camille is destined to be driven with goals and aspirations. Danny, however is in so much danger. I see it all around, boys/men who walk around as if they are entitled to whatever they want without any work on their part. My own brother feels as if the world "owes" him something because he dropped out of school and hasn't gotten a GED. His life is unfair he says. Why should he have to listen to his boss? Why should he have to do this and that? URGH!

I guess the biggest difference between my thinking and (others) is that I consider good things to be a stable home, healthy relationships, good friends, laughter, love. I don't consider good things to be brand name labels, commercialized products that 'everyone' owns, having all the latest gadgets or video games. What does it say about a person when all they value is more, more, more? How do you communicate with such a person? I don't know. I just want my children to have Cordelia. Not because we have to but because we choose it to be that way.



me :) said...

I don't know if you've read any JOhn Rosemond - he talks a lot about the toy issue and how parents rob their kids of so much joy by giving too much. It's so true - I remember the counting of pennies and scheming up odd jobs to do for pay to *earn* a toy that I then slept with for weeks. The wait, the anticipation - we can so quickly steal those parts of a gift be being hasty. BUT - I think your focus and intentions are so purposeful that you will do all you can to limit those instances at home that it will be just fine. And - by seeing a particular problem area - we can take it to the Lord for His guidance and direction. He'll have his Cordeila - you'll make sure he does!

Anonymous said...

Yes, yes, yes! Very well put. I agree with your thoughts and am also trying to teach the concept of need vs. want to my children. As well as the realization of how blessed they are. Hopefully it will sink in. :-)

Anonymous said...

Wow - how very appropriate - I started reading Atlas Shrugged for the first time the day after Christmas - and what you wrote is the sort of things I have been thinking about all week! We usually are very restrained with the gifts, and I thought things were going to be much simpler this year, then my mother brought a whole toy store over the day after Christmas (she had only told me about a few things she was getting, so it was a complete shock to me when they brought in 20 plus presents). I too have a brother and sister who really do feel they are entitled to most things - it is an attitude of this generation one I hope to avoid with my kids. Anne Marie

Margie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Margie said...

I don't know where to begin. I want to comment on so many levels, but I only have so much time.
I used to really worry about this topic, because my children received so much. I still fight the battle, but I do not spend as much time fighting it from the aspect of controlling what and how much they get, but the real battle, the spiritual battle.
In reflecting on things, abundance or not abundance was not the question. Polo shirts or not polo shirts was not the question. It was more than that. I grew up with way too much. My dad was very poor and one of 10. He became very successful in the grocery business after starting out cutting meat. He would buy us a lot of things. However, he taught us to feel the gratitude he felt that drove his need to give to everyone. Giving of things can be a beautiful thing. The key word is 'can'. He has given us an apple every year to remind us of the only gift he would receive. He would savor that apple and hide it and only take a bite now and then. He never saw a grocery store growing up and he never saw apples growing up in South Georgia. Guess what my first gift was this year from my dad who lives next door? An apple wrapped in gold foil. He used ways like this to teach us simplicity and gratfulness. As a child I was not always gratful and appreciative, but all of us children as adults are very gratful even though we have been blessed in every way, monetarily included.
Now saying that, I used to work as a social worker before I was married. I worked with the poorest of poor in the U.S. I point that out, because our poverty here is nothing compared to other countries. Anyway, many, many of the people had nothing and never have had anything, but much to my surprise, were not appreciate of anything. They were not grateful! So, the theory that if we do not have much we will have a sense of value and be thankful is not true. It is a spritual matter and a virtue that has to be instilled in our children. We have to make it a spiritual matter for them. There are examples of wealthy people in the Bible that deeply appreciated what God had done for them. God does warn that it can be difficult for the wealthy man to see the kingdom of God, because he will feel he doesn't need Him. That can also be true of someone wealthy with knowledge and intelligence. We can kindly and gently point out to our children they are sinners desperately in need of a Savior and be so grateful for what He did for them and us.
I hope that helps.

Welcome to the 'burbs! said...

Oh you are not crazy. We have always done a 3 present limit, but the family goes overboard. Our children do not respect the toys they have b/c they have too many to care. If it was the only toy, yes, I think they would take better care.

I can't change family. I can encourage them to spend TIME with the kids and less gifts. I can pray they listen. And I can put toys in tubs and rotate them so they never have too much as once ;-)

I completely agree that less is more....more special, more meaningful, more in so many ways.


my5wolfcubs said...

Hey! I'm the first born and a girl...and I'm not driven by goals and aspirations! At least, I don't think I am. :) And my younger brother definitely doesn't think the world owes him, he's a role-model I look up to! In general terms do agree w/ what you're saying -- just be careful you don't project (I think that is the term) onto your own kids.

My kids don't have a lot...I think because they don't know there is "a lot" to be had. But they aren't necessarily appreciative of what they have either. At least they aren't falling over each other to thank us as parents or write glowing thank-you notes to the relatives who brought them gifts.

Stable home, healthy relationships, good friends, laughter, love...I HAVE these things. Am I as thankful and as filled with gratitude as I could be? Do the people who share these with me KNOW I'm thankful? Hmm...

Thanks for being a good friend, Jessica! Thanks for sharing freely of your life & time so that others (me!) can learn & be inspired. Speaking of...I need to make one of those "rest of the year" charts!


CookieMonster said...

"I consider good things to be a stable home, healthy relationships, good friends, laughter, love. I don't consider good things to be brand name labels, commercialized products that 'everyone' owns, having all the latest gadgets or video games."

Amen, sista! I'm right there with you. You are not alone, esp. in the hs community.

Didn't read all the comments, so I don't know if I'm just the 8th person to say the same thing or not.