Saturday, December 13, 2008


I was going to write something for the apls carnival but I just couldn't get any sort of handle on it. I know children are our future and that we should take care of them but all this has been said so many times before and in so many ways that it just gets depressing. I think doing is much better than talking about it and bringing up the kids has been my mission since they were born. Even there I can only do my best and hope it is enough to set them up for their future whatever that may be.

If they need stuff I do my best but they also have to understand that there is a difference between want and need and that want will get a pretty short shrift until need is met. Even then they will only get what I think is appropriate for their age. This means that when there is a treat it is cherished and remembered as a special thing.

Christmas is a case in point. All of us will only give one serious present for each child. They will get about 7 presents altogether and that will be it. They will get two Christmas dinners because that is how we have done the two families from the beginning. So 3 presents will happen early and the rest on the day.

I find it hard to believe that children receive so much unnecessary junk these days. What is it that we think they should be valued to the max on credit cards? Maybe there is guilt in there that says we don't spend time with them and therefore must pay for their love and all that. Surely there are better things we could be doing with our time and theirs than being absent while earning yet more money to spend on more stuff.

My grandmother had this weird idea that if she gave us lots of things, we would love her more. This did the opposite in actual fact. It just made us feel uncomfortable and obligated to visit. We went from a sense of duty, not from love. And yet we did love her. We just wished she wouldn't be like that and quite a few of us never visited unless they couldn't get out of it.

This attitude seems to have spread out into most corners of society. The results are groups of alienated children with no self respect and an unhealthy desire for things rather than community. We were lucky. Our parents did not do this and we never felt alienated from them (although we might beg to disagree on some points!). We were allowed to grow up and leave freely with our values clear along with our minds. We might make wrong choices or idiotic decisions but they would never be anti social and we never felt we couldn't go home.

I hope I am able to do as good a job with our kids as was done for me.

viv in nz


Chile said...

Good observations on family dynamics! It seems so hard for people to separate gifts from the spirit of giving. They are two entirely different concepts yet so easily confused.

knutty knitter said...

You said it all!

viv in nz