OK, I am just in the mood to rant a bit, and I know it will probably go over like a led balloon. It also may be that as I represent the "older generation" that I see things just a bit differently because of my history, experience, and up-bringing. But here goes.
I am absolutely floored when I stand in line and listen to kids and their parents discussing possible Christmas presents -- "what do you want for Christmas" or "what are you going to ask Santa for?" The list that pours out of the mouths of nine and ten year olds almost makes me feel like I am living in an alternate universe. I spoke with one little girl not long ago who wanted this extensive list of electronic toys, including a cell phone with an extensive number of "bells and whistles" and I asked her what was wrong with new shoes or a new dress, or perhaps something nice for her room. Her response: "Are you crazy?"
I'm sure that we all look to give our kids and grandkids nice stuff and certainly the choice is often largely guided by our income. But I have to say that I have a really BIG problem with giving nine and ten year olds, and even some early teens, adult toys. When I saw what some kids were getting for their birthday I wondered what their parents w ere going to pull out of the hat for their high school graduation. Possibly their own Rolls Royce?
I remember one Christmas, several decades ago, when hubby and I and our four kids really didn't have two thin dimes to rub together. We scrimped and saved and managed to get them some new clothes, a nice toy for each and candy and such. As I was preparing to wrap their gifts, I realized that I hadn't gotten any Christmas wrapping paper. It was Christmas Eve and the stores were closed. Now what???? So I went to my neighbors living on each side of us, and got all the Sunday funny papers they could find and wrapped Christmas presents in the funny papers. Now the upshot of this story is that while the kids were delighted with the new clothes, the toy, the candy and such, they spent nearly the entire day reading all the Sunday funny papers. I think it is a Christmas I will always remember. That was also the same Christmas after we had a fire in our house and all the Christmas ornaments were gone. Again the financial crunch was pretty profound, so I went to the store and got wooden, paint-by-number ornaments and all of the kids and I spent several weeks painting the various ornaments that managed to remain in the family collection for many years afterward.
I guess my concern is that we are so anxious for our kids and grandkids to have the "latest" that we forget that an important part of our job as parents and grandparents is to "preserve their childhood." They are adults for a large percentage of their time on this planet. Once childhood is gone it is never to be retrieved. I really think we don't work hard enough at making sure that they have learned the simple pleasures of life, the ways of enjoying life without all the gadgets and the electronic wonders that are out there.
Remember, this is just my opinion. How do some of you feel about all this?