Saturday, December 5, 2015

Clara And A Few Thoughts


I read this cute little book a month ago and I turned down a page and wanted to remember some things I gleaned from Clara's wisdom-

"We didn't have money like kids do today. We didn't get everything we wanted , so when we had a treat, it was really special."  She went on to talk about how a nickel would buy her some ice cream or another treat and how she looked forward to that all week (her parents gave her a nickel to spend on Sunday after they cleaned the house on Saturday.)

I read this book around Halloween time and I thought back to my Halloween and how much less of a super duper holiday it was-we lived on a small street and would come with maybe a dozen treats, and it was pure heaven.  A few times I'd be so excited for that darn candy and the whole trick-or-treat event, I would get sick with anticipation.  At school I don't remember dressing up (maybe we did?) and I don't remember any Halloween parties or bags of treats handed out at school, if we did get something, it was something very small like a cookie or a cupcake.  I never remember a store bought costume (did stores have costumes? there certainly weren't Halloween stores) and my mom helped us put together something when we were young, and then we did on our own as we capable.

And then I compared that to what my kids experience now and thought about the crazy "overdoing it" culture that exists today.  By the time the holiday comes, some kids are worn out-from parties, from candy, from treats, from "specials".  I've heard of some kids who don't even want to trick-or-treat-a treat isn't special anymore, they can have it anytime they want, and it's nothing to look forward to.

I was laughing with a friend the other day-what happened to just a birthday party at home with cake???  Gosh I remember those!  Not hundreds spent on some grand event or destination-but just a simple party with cake and icecream. Or kids who open so many gifts at Christmas, it becomes almost a chore. How sad! To have so much, that nothing is special anymore. If we start out big, what will ever be good enough?  If we ruin the little special things, what will ever be left to look forward to? It's a terrible disservice in way-to rob a child of anticipation, excitement, gratitude at such a young age-that is what makes childhood special isn't it? The only way to keep that anticipation, excitement and gratitude today is to give less, and make special events "special" by experiencing them rarely. The more a child has given to him, the less it all means.

I've noticed the kids that are the most fun to be around, possess a certain joy for the simple things in life, and in return are a joy to be around. And what a precious gift that is-to have children who are a joy for everyone to be around!  And I've realized that in our crazy culture today, I have to be conscious of my desire to keep the "special" in life-it is definitely swimming against the tide and it is sometimes impossible to do.  But I want so much for my children to have that gift, because really it's the most precious gift of all-unable to be purchased-unable to be given at any other time in life, and forms such wonderful character traits.

10 comments :

  1. Beautifully written, as always. I agree with this 100%. Around here, there are parties for Halloween for 2-3 weekends before the actual event, which I think is overkill. My kids "only" got to go trick or treating and they were fine with it. Last year I splurged at Christmas and got them 5 gifts each instead of the usual 4 and I could tell it was too much for them (they were 4&6, so not babies!). I am scaling back this year. I'd rather do a smaller Christmas and then surprise them with a small treat here and there throughout the year.

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  2. I loved this. I've been struggling with it right now. Friends invited my kids to go trick or treating at the mall Halloween morning. I declined, Mall trickortreating? Going twice? It seemed insane to me. I just delined another invite to a Xmas brunch were they wanted parents to bring a wrapped 20 dollar gift for Santa to give your child. I could not believe it. That's what Christmas morning is for. Sometimes I feel crazy.

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  3. Although we suffered no deprivation as kids, I do remember looking forward to our annual summer vacation because we were each allowed to pick a sugary cereal - it tasted so good because it was a special treat! One of my biggest parenting regrets is going overboard at Christmas when they were very young and setting those over the top expectations. It is nearly impossible to change...and yet I remain astonished when my kids relay to me what their classmates received...makes my over the top pale in comparison yet I know we go overboard and it doesn't sit easily with me. Our culture is so consumer focused. My kids poke fun of my archaic non smart phone...but I truly do not need, or want, an I phone/smart phone. It seems to just be a race I don't want to run. I have been surprised at graduation parties - when did they get so big and not just immediate family and maybe grandparents??!!

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  4. Absolutely! Don't get me started on the tooth fairy either! I remember getting fifty cents, my friends child just got $50 and a gift!!! I was speechless!

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  5. Love this, Sarah. Agree wholeheartedly.

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  6. Sarah, thank you for being one bright shining spot of common sense on the internet now days. Please keep blogging forever!

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  7. I so agree with this also. It is SO crazy. I work with someone who bought her daughter an SUV for her car in high school. They had to have the car outfitted with heated seats because the daughter was so upset they were not included. I still don't have heated seats. Oh my it is a crazy world.

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  8. I so needed to hear this. Growing up poor, we never even had "just cake and ice cream". So now, I am overdoing just about every occasion. Need to reign in the "specials", especially this xmas. Thank you Sarah..

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  9. i agree and also admit that i buy into some of this overdoing it too. with 1 child it is even worse b/c with each celebration i feel like...."this is the only/last 6th bday we'll ever celebrate" or "this is the last visit from the tooth fairy", or "this is the last year she may believe in santa" so i over fill the calendar to try to get in so many holiday activities or whatever. but, what you say is so true. scaling back is tough to do, but i'm going to try!

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  10. I didn't know she had a book! I have watched a few of her videos where she cooks recipes from the depression. Love them, she is an amazing lady.

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