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.