Here is a story that we read online recently, and maybe it’s familiar to you, too.
A six-year-old child opens gifts upon mountains of brightly colored gifts. The holiday gifts are from various relatives, but mostly, they are from the child’s grandparents, who must have spent hundreds of dollars on the presents.
Later that morning, the child shreds his new sweater to pieces with scissors. Embarrassed, his parents ask him why he did it. And he says, “Because I don’t like that one, and Grandma will buy me a new one later.”
How do you respond to this story?
We were a bit troubled.
We understand why people are compelled to give children stuff. It’s a lot of fun to watch kids unwrap presents and to see them happy. And it’s tough to tell other people that they are spending too much on our kids.
But perhaps we need to try enforcing this with a stronger hand. After all, what sort of message are we sending kids with all of this spending? Won’t it end up teaching our kids that it’s normal to get so much? Will they become spoiled and throw tantrums if they don’t get what they want?
During the Christmas season, it’s important to remember that there are those in the community who are not as fortunate as we are. It’s doubly important for us to teach our children this.
Along with intense celebration and giving of gifts to loved ones, we should give to those who are in need.
The Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS)’s food bank is one of the most used food banks in King County, according to its website. It distributes more than 126,000 pounds of food a year to about 5,000 people. It is the only food bank in Washington state that distributes food geared toward Asian and Pacific Islander diets. Consider donating your extra nonperishable items to ACRS Food Bank. Take your children along with you when you deliver the items.
Also, if grandparents really insist on showering the grandkids with toys, what about taking last year’s toys and donating them to Goodwill? It will simultaneously clear out space for the new haul and benefit a great organization with an admirable mission — with its job training programs. Be sure to convey to your kids that their donation, in some way, is helping individuals get back on their feet. (end)