December 29, 2009

What Gifts Can Reveal

Yesterday, I received an email from one of my students detailing the contents of her stocking and other Christmas gifts. Among her list were a Coach purse, Tiffany necklace, iPod touch and a completely redecorated bedroom. I found it somewhat amusing that I was feeling jealous of a 12 year-old, so I shared this with my Facebook friends.

As anticipated, many of my friends were right there with me... drooling over the outrageous gifts we only wish we had received. Some wondered what was left for this girl to receive in the future (A good question. Where does one go from there?). One comment, though, both surprised and irritated me...

"I'm not jealous. She'll be pregnant and spoiled at 16 too!" retorted one reader.

Wow! There's a leap! Someone clearly has some built up aggression. Maybe this is bringing back memories of her own childhood when she was jealous of her own peers for having more than her family can afford (I'm not making assumptions here... her comment reminded me of one such conversation we had in middle school).

Being the mama hen that I am, my immediate instinct was to protect and defend my student. Really? Do all privileged children end up spoiled and pregnant at 16? I think not! And certainly I haven't seen evidence to suggest this could be the future of the child in question.

"Maybe your 12 year old should be donating to all the children living in cars right now. The economy sucks! [Parents] should share their wealth, not spoil their children," she demanded.

Okay... as a collective whole, I would say that these are probably some of the most privileged children I've ever encountered, but that doesn't make them all spoiled brats. I firmly believe that you can give your children everything under the sun (not that I advocate this) without them developing a sense of entitlement.

And the assumption that my children are not giving back to those that are less fortunate is completely invalid. My students participate in charity work all year long and this month alone purchased more than 90 gifts to fulfill letters to Santa for an underprivileged school in a neighboring town.

We say all the time that children cannot help what they were born into. And I don't think it's fair for people to judge anyone, regardless of their socioeconomic status (or race, religion, creed, etc.), including those that are more fortunate than most. Let us not be so quick to believe that those who have, do so with no regard to those that go without.

1 comment:

  1. I read this several days ago but today it came to mind again when talking to someone. You are SO right. Kids are the products of how they are raised. We SET our kids expectations and often set them TOO high. Why do we get upset with kids whose entire life they have been handed everything as if it's their fault? UGH!

    And Henry does love Lightning McQueen but he's now in second place to his new big love, Batman!