Saturday, October 13, 2012

How Much Do You Want It?

The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. - Randy Pausch

We've never kept up with the Joneses and we aren't about to start now.  But, as my kids get older the amount of things I say "no" to seems a bit overwhelming.  It's amazing to me how my sons' friends get just about whatever they ask for and I'm left to tell my kids, "nope...not gonna happen."

Nicholas wails because he says he is the ONLY kid without an iPod Touch.  He is the ONLY kid who never had a DS.  He is the ONLY kid who doesn't have Osiris high tops. I know it's not true because I do have friends who won't buy their kids iPod Touches or Osiris high tops, but we seem to be in the minority. 

I don't care how mean my kids think I am, I have no intention of giving into whims and raising ungrateful kids.  If Nicholas wants an iPod Touch he's going to have to work for it.  We created an allowance schedule and put a price tag on odd jobs he can do around the house, like raking leaves or helping his dad clean the garage.  I sat down with him to show him just how long it would take to earn enough money to buy an iPod Touch.  If he earns his allowance every week he will be very close by his birthday.  We told him he could use birthday money to put towards his purchase so in all likelihood he could have a shiny new electronic toy in April.

The only caveat is he can lose allowance money by talking back, being mean to his brother, not doing as he's told or balking on his chores. So, you can see the conundrum.  He could earn the money but it won't be easy.

That's the point.

Nothing worth having in life ever really comes easy, does it?  We adults have to work for what we want.  We don't get handed shiny new electronic toys likes it's Christmas every day.  Name brand clothes and shoes aren't dropped on our doorsteps like we have fairy godmothers who grant our every wish. We need to go out and earn money to pay for things.  If we don't earn the money we don't get the things.  It's pretty simple. 

Nicholas thinks I'm mean because I won't buy him "stuff."  So be it.  We've had many discussions about wants vs. needs and the value of a dollar.  These lessons aren't learned overnight and I know I will keep repeating myself until even I'm sick of hearing my voice.  But, I also know that he will appreciate an iPod Touch he earned the money to pay for far more than he would appreciate one I bought it for him.  It's not easy always saying no and always being the bad guy, but it's my job to make sure he grows up to be a productive member of society who can support himself and not someone with his hand out asking, "where's mine?"  He will have to learn as I learned, as my parents and grandparents before me learned.

When Nicholas is really mad and says things like, "yanno, it's a real disadvantage to have parents who think they're perfect" I just smile.  He's mad and anger is a great motivator. 

If something is truly worth having, Nicholas might get mad enough to break through those brick walls and find a way to earn it.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing. I'm a father of 2 young girls (8 and 10). I agree with everything you say except the ramification of it many decades from now. When they are 40s and you're 70s... how would they treat you back as life is a circle?

Kim Murray said...

Hi Anonymous, thanks for stopping by. I hope my children will treat me as I treat my parents...with the respect they deserve for teaching me the value of a dollar and how to support myself financially by living within my means. I wouldn't have learned those lessons if everything was given to me as easily as it's given to many kids today.


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