I found my camera yesterday (I am always losing it), so I hope to get some pictures posted from our parade that we were in. You would think that I would try to keep better track of my camera since it's new, I just keep forgetting where I put it once we get back to the van or the house. You would think I would always put it in the same place, like my keys and my iPod, but no. On with the show.
Several weeks ago, while the kids were watching TV, I heard some things I really didn't like. If it had come from the TV, I would have turned the channel. No, it was coming out of the mouths of babes. I heard "I want that!" and " I want two of those!" and "I want...", "I want...", "I want...". Are you serious? When did my kids turn into greedy little monsters?
I give part of the responsibility to the advertisers. They make some of these products look like the best thing ever. We know half of them don't work, or don't work like the commercial says they do. But would you let someone advertise your product that didn't make it look wonderful? The kids, however, don't quite understand that. The big girl is starting to see that things are not always like TV says they are. The other two still aren't there yet.
The bulk of the responsibilty lies with the parents. Yes, I know that's me and hubby. Part of the problem is allowing the kids to watch TV, the other part is buying things that are advertised. The kids don't understand about the money part. My kids see the credit card symbols and say we could just charge it. The big girl has started replying for us that you still have to pay the bill. Thank goodness. It almost seems more real coming from her. Coming from us, it seems more like an excuse. If money grew on trees, we would have an orchard, or a grove, or a farm even. So to combat their growing obsession with things, we have a plan.
The kid are no longer allowed to say "I want". We have changed it to "I would like to have". It sounds nicer, and not so greedy. It drives me crazy to hear about all the things they think they have to have. We have told them they can no longer sit through the commercials announcing to the world what they want. If they want something they see on TV, they have to keep it to themselves. If we ask, they may tell us.
As we wander the aisles, and especially the checkout lane, they are allowed to look, but not touch. The boy has to keep his hands in his pockets or behind his back. It has started to trickle down to the baby. She, too, is supposed to keep hands off. And they are not allowed to say anything about what they want, unless prompted. But then again, they say "I would like to have...". I actually had a busy body say I was a bad mommy for not letting the kids play with the toys in the checkout. I took that well, or not. I told him that when the kids got sick from playing with the toys all the sick kids played with, he could come take care of them. And when the credit card bill came in from buying them all the things they wanted from the checkout aisle, I would send him the bill. That shut him up.
We have also made the kids clean their rooms and get rid of toys. We take them down to the thrift store or find a family that would be blessed to have them. All the broken ones get thrown away. All the ones with missing pieces go the way of the land fill. It makes their rooms easier to clean every time and the amount of junk has decreased.
Then there's Christmas. This will be a light Christmas. Not only for the monetary reasons, but for the want of things. Things do not make the world go around. It shouldn't anyway. We are trying to get that across to the kids. Love, respect, and honor should be the things that make the world a better place.
And finally the vacation fund. The boy is exceptional at finding change. I wish he would find mama a couple of hundred dollar bills, but no. He can find pennies and nickels and dimes and quarters like nobodies business. When the kids find change, they get this gleam in their eye like they cannot wait to spend it. I look at them and say those two sweet words. Vacation Fund. At first, they look a little heartbroken. Then I ask them how bad they want to go to Hawaii. The boy is funny. "We're one quarter closer to going." Keep it up, big boy, keep it up.
We are hoping that these changes will help the kids realize that the love of money is the root of all evil. We tell them money is not bad. But the wanting of more and more and more is not good, for you or your soul. We are also working on ourselves. We, too, are not allowed to say "I want". We, too, are not allowed to look at or touch those impulse items in the checkout aisle. We, too, have to put our money in the vacation fund at the end of the day. We are trying to lead by example.
Have a great day!