A few weeks ago I shared with you my memories of presenting Zach with his swing set in an effort to remind you that giving your child presents should never be a replacement for your presence. I want to take that ‘lesson’ a little farther this week by reminding parents that things don’t make the home any more than clothes make the man…
John and I raised our kids in house that was less than 2,000 square feet in size. All three girls shared a bedroom for several years, no one had their own bathroom (not even John and I), we didn’t have cable television until Emma was fourteen and the only one left at home, family vacations consisted of camping trips and county fairs for showing livestock and our kids actually had chores they were expected to do and do correctly. And guess what…they all lived to tell about it!
Don’t get me wrong—when one of their friends asked why they lived in such a little house or told them they were sorry they didn’t have cable, my heart would skip a beat in fear it would embarrass my kids. Or when they talked about how so-and-so was going to Disney World or on a cruise over spring break, I can’t deny I sometimes wished we could do something like that for them.
I’m thankful and proud, however, that none of that seemed to bother our children. They had fields and outbuildings to play in, bikes to ride, pets to play with, a swimming pool to cool off in, a swing set and tree swing to enjoy and toys which allowed them to be creative and imaginative. They were loved, well-fed, ‘stuck’ with me all day (they were my career) and provided a life that was about a lot more than stuff.What’s the point, you ask? The point is this: your children don’t need half the things you think they do. They don’t need video games and television to stimulate their minds. They need an empty box and an old blanket to do that. They don’t need expensive vacations in order to make family memories. They need board games and popcorn, fishing and camping trips, or games of hide-n-seek and lightening bugs in jars to do that. And finally, they don’t need big houses because houses don’t make homes—people do.
So in answer to the question I asked, “Should I be worried?”, the answer is NO! And you shouldn’t be either.
I can say this will complete confidence because Zach, Elizabeth, Olivia and Emma will readily admit to having great memories of growing up on a farm, in a little house, taking family camping trips and watching Darkwing Duck and reruns of 7th Heaven instead of whatever the newest shows were at the time. Not only that, all four are happy, loving and intelligent. They are loving and supportive spouses and parents and have good people skills. What's more, they did it all without a ride down Space Mountain or having fifty-two channels to choose from. However did that happen!?