I’ve just come out of the haze that is Christmas and Boxing Day. In my estimation Father Christmas didn’t do too bad in my household this year. I mean he’s skint (wondering if this is the only outcome that will result in happy kids), but kids got a fair bit of the stuff on their Christmas list. They should be happy right? Wrong. So, this has now got me thinking about the self-entitlement thing.
Gifts and tricks
I played a trick on my kids (11 and 9 year old) this year with their Christmas gifts. I wrapped them up and numbered them, and the kids had to open them in sequential order starting from 1. We make a habit of gifting the kids essentials for Christmas (e.g. clothes, shoes, school bag), Getting ready for Christmas – Africanfinestmums tips then maybe throwing in one requested item from their list (which by the way never includes essentials). So I wrapped up the essentials in the first few packages, and their request in the last package. You should have seen their faces as they opened up the first couple packages – disappointment, and grudgingly spoken “thank you”. The wide smiles and teeth, and genuine, excited “thank you”, only presented themselves with the opening of the last packages. Toys and gadgets, the most expensive of the lot, which might not last more than 3 months. I didn’t know whether to be amused that they had fallen for my trick, or angry that they’d fallen for it.
When I was younger I don’t remember being brave enough to express any displeasure at whatever gift I got (who born me?). I was grateful to get a gift, talk less of several. Now this was not because my parents didn’t have means, as we were comfortable, but I understood that gifts were exactly that, a bonus, a lovely gesture, not something I was entitled to. Our gifts were mainly essentials (I guess that’s how I formed the habit), and simple things like drawing pads and coloured pencils, plastic sunglasses or books. These days if it’s not an overpriced toy, branded shoes or the latest phone or tech gadget, you haven’t even started. How has this changed so much, where we have to beg kids to like the gifts we give them, and just be grateful for whatever they’ve received?
Self-entitlement or not?
Is it just sign of the times, or are we getting this wrong somewhere? I’ve preached and preached to my kids about “giving is better than receiving”, “money doesn’t just fall from trees”, “when you work hard you get rewarded”, “it’s not just about you you you”, and I think I do a decent job of modelling this for them too. However this Christmas all they talked about were the latest phones (the latest you know, not just a working phone!) They talked about laptops, computer games, latest dance videos, Huarache shoes, stuff, stuff and more stuff. Getting them to be as excited about their chores, homework, or cleaning up after themselves is like pulling teeth. Yet, asking, pleading, hassling non-stop for the latest 2 second fad (remember fidget spinners), a new game for their games console or the latest trend that apparently all their friends have seems to be their greatest pastime. I’m getting irritated by this self-entitledness of a thing.
Is it just me? Should I give up the referencing back to the “good ole days” as they are well and truly gone, and just accept this is the new norm? What do you think?