If you ask my children what saying they associate with me, their mother, they would with out a doubt say, “it is good to want things.” There have even been jokes as to how it would appear on my tombstone. As a matter of fact, when I told one of daughters I was writing this post her response was, “Oh Mom’s major lesson! How was that not your first post!”. The fact is, I really believe it when I say it. From the time they could speak when we would walk through the aisles of Target or Publix (or any story for that matter) my children would yell, “MOM, I want this!!!!”. My response rarely faltered. “Well, it is good to want things. Let’s go.”
If I didn’t not have the intention of buying something I did not let their WANT of something usually sway me. There were times they said what they wanted and why and based on a need we would get it, but the truth is it is GREAT to want things. It motivates you! While I don’t necessarily believe in positive reinforcement for expected behavior I do believe in it sporadically when they do the unexpected. When they least expect it, I do give my kids things for simply working so hard or standing up for someone or not withstanding to peer pressure, etc.
We live in a society where we associate making our kids happy with giving them everything that they want, yet the two things are not equal. What good is it to have everything you want if you don’t appreciate it? Usually, the harder something is to get the more we appreciate it. I tried to teach my kids that at an early age, and I also tried to teach them that I care and I listen. So when they saw the gummy bears and yelled, “I want that” and I responded with “It is good to want things” it didn’t mean they didn’t get it. It meant that when they least expected it, and for nothing in particular, I would show up with the gummy bears and just say, “I know you wanted these and I have seen you working really hard so I wanted to surprise you with them.” They were over joyed.
A perfect example is how my children always received tooth fairy money and it made them so happy. But there were a couple of summers that I worked to teach my kids how business works. I would buy items wholesale and teach them how to establish your cost, your margin, your gross profit, your net profit, etc. The girls sold these items at my mother’s place of business. I can tell you they earned less than they had squandered away of tooth fairy money but they treated that money they earned as if they had just made millions.
Teach your children that it is good to want things. Don’t give them everything they want, let them earn it. Let them long for it. And let them reap the reward and the joy of getting it.