We all want to provide for our children, to give them a better life than we had, no matter how rich or poor a background we come from. Yet, I think the best way to provide for our children is to prepare them to lead a rewarding life.
Like most parents, as my children grew up, I wanted to give them the world on a string. Today I wonder if that sends the wrong message to children.
I've been reading lately about "participation trophies" awarded for children's sports. Win or lose, every child gets a trophy, just for showing up. What, then, is the incentive for a child to try to excel in the game? Let's face it. If you just show up at work and don't get the job done, you don't get a trophy. You get fired.
When my daughter was a teen, she wanted an expensive pair of shoes. So expensive, in fact, that I would have had to work a full day to pay for them. I told her, "I don't intend to spend eight hours on my feet to put one pair of shoes on yours." As a compromise, I told her if she could earn half the price, I'd spot her the other half. That conversation led to her first job and she soon learned to be more discriminating in her purchases.
For most of us, our desires far exceed our capacity to fulfill them. However, that isn‘t a bad thing. Part of the reward is the chase.
These days, I often hear children demanding candy, a new toy, or other treat as they shop with their parents. Many parents feel the need to give in to spare themselves the embarrassment of a temper tantrum. Instead of giving in, why not ask the child what they will do to earn their treat? Teach them that rewards come through effort, not through demands.