There are two, strike that, many things that really worry me about our boys growing up. One of the main things now is the degree of influence upon them. Particularly when it comes to stuff. The wanting of stuff, the accumulation of stuff, the desire for STUFF. This is incredibly obvious if they are ever allowed to watch certain TV shows or networks that have that evil habit of marketing to children! You know the ones....the ones with every commercial with some new-fangled product like the latest super-hero shooter or the amazing-grow-your-own worm farm (I have news for you kiddos, that's called dirt and it is very likely in your own backyard...). I amazed at the garbage that is marketed to our children and how. My friend Dave Ramsey has an absolutely hysterical bit in his live event about "charge card Barbie". Suffice it to say, he does not endorse this particular Barbie and let's just say, Barbie doesn't quite look the same when he's done... I tend to agree. I think it is insane the way companies have marketed to our kids.
So to combat this issue and to keep me from losing my temper and cussing like a sailor (OK--not really but I want to...), we simply avoid those TV channels. Here is a novel idea....we don't allow our kids a 'treat' or toy or gift every time we go to a store. We talk often about how we don't get everything we want. We reserve gifts for special occasions....and Thursday afternoon is rarely a special occasion. We are trying very hard to combat the desire for stuff in our kids. Don't get me wrong...it doesn't always fly well. We still get whiney children who REALLY WANT IT! But we talk out loud about how 'money doesn't grow on trees' (the oldest is constantly looking for those dollar bills on the trees though...) and how special occasions are just that...special. They have not started Dave's suggestions of save/spend/tithe with their money. We will be starting that before too long. Up until now, their money from holidays, birthdays or whenever has simply went into the piggy bank and there it sits for the most part. So far, we've only had a couple of occasions where we've went to a store specifically to help them to buy something they want. Most times, we ask them to ask God, grandparents and us to remember what their wish list is for special holidays and they may get the item. We try not to base gifts on behavior necessarily, but we have been known to 'pay' for some yard work help (Big Boy works a good rake!) and potty training (Little Man required many, many, many different tactics to get the job done).
So what Works For Us is helping our kids to learn to do without. And learning that accumulating stuff is not necessary. Next task is to help them to clear out some older toys and items in their room that are no longer played with. We have a new baby coming to the family in December so we'll be sending some things to our new cousin soon!
Enjoy other Works For Me Wednesday posts over at We Are That Family!