Friday, January 30, 2015

Spoiling our kids

Steve and I have always been in agreement that we do not want to spoil our children. We want them to have a realistic expectation of what they can and cannot have, we want them to appreciate the things they do have, and we want them to realize the value of money and how we spend it. So this means we work very hard not to give them every little thing they ask for. We spend lots of our time having conversations about why we are not purchasing that new toy on the commercial and why we are not having cake for dessert every night, and instead why we need to save our money and decide what is most important to spend it on.

But this past weekend, I realized we are failing a bit at this noble parental endeavour. See, we were in Paris, and Jack was telling us that he really didn't want to go back home (to London). We were consoling him with the fact that we would return for another visit, we promised. And it hit me, we are spoiling our children with travel.

We have made it a priority to get out and see the world since we made our move to the UK. We have visited many historical places here in the London area including the Tower of London, Hampton Court, and Stonehenge. We have made two trips into continental Europe to experience the Christmas Markets in Heidelberg and to see Paris. We are constantly talking about where we want to go next and what we want to see or do. Our life really does revolve around planning new experiences for our family.

I have a very clear memory from my childhood from when I realized that not everyone moved to a new house in a different state every four years. I'm pretty sure I was in fifth grade and we had just moved to Wheeling, Ill. I remember being very shocked that my family's moving lifestyle was not the "normal" one, that many of my new friends had lived in the same house since they were born.

This weekend, I realized there will be a moment in Jack and Reid and Colin's lives when they are shocked that not everyone has traveled to see famous world cities or has gone on weekend adventure trips once a month or so with their families.

And I hope when they experience this shock that instead of being sad about being different, that they will be grateful and humble about the opportunities they have had.

So as we plan our next adventure, maybe Belgium or Ireland, I think we'll have to start having the conversation about why we go on these trips and why we like to spend our money traveling. Maybe we'll start a journal to keep track of what we like best about the places that we visit. We might be spoiling our children rotten with travel, but I'd like to think we are helping them develop a love for the world around them at the same time. And no more promises to revisit a place, instead, I will try to get them to appreciate the moment we are there and the experience we are having then.

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