All my childhood, every October, my mother took out flannel sheets to spread them out on all our beds to cope with the cold of the upcoming New York winter. She took out the heavy blankets that my grandmother had brought with her from Russia to replace the thin ones we used to take shelter all summer.
We slept in pants and sweaters with long sleeves, a columnist recalls his childhood New York Post Carol Markovich.
Recently, I realized that my own children do not have flannel sheets, and all their bedding comes with warm blankets, be it July or January. And during the cold winter they slept in shorts, because in the house where they live, the temperature is always 23 degrees Celsius.
They in their lives do not know the need for many things. The strangest thing that can happen is when a person from a poor family brings up children from a rich family.
When my children get tired of walking, my 4-year-old child says: “Let's order Uber,” and I order, because I'm also tired of walking, and a taxi is not expensive.
But I have a fear that I spoil my children by making their lives so comfortable. But isn't that the point? Isn't that what we aim to achieve for our children?
The main thing I want to achieve is that my children are ready and understand that wealth is not a permanent state. Of course, studies say that those who were born rich and die rich. But they mostly study 1% of the population, and not those who are thinking about ordering Uber for $ 8 or not. My life is a permanent financial slides. I was both poor and rich, then again poor and rich again.
For clarity, my childhood was spent in poverty, my family was newly minted immigrants, and my youth was spent in paying grueling debt for tuition.
During my childhood, my father studied as a doctor, and by this he changed our fate. We always had enough food, but a trip to McDonald's was for special occasions. Parents were always worried and worked hard, I rarely saw them.
In the house we always kept the heat controller low, and slept on flannel sheets even after our financial condition improved. Fate can be changed, but thinking is more difficult to change.
The “wealth” of my children is not about expensive yachts and private jets, but they can afford after schoolwork, cool T-shirts with superheroes, holidays, and more importantly, they have two parents who can give them time and truly participate in their life. This and Uber, and guitar lessons, and kits for the arts, and any films that they want to watch.
When I am afraid that I indulge my children too much, I go to my parents for advice, but this is always a difficult conversation. It turns out that people find it difficult to recognize that they are poor and that they are rich.
Neither my husband nor my immigrant husband has close ties with relatives, so we have no feelings of guilt for the privileges that we can now enjoy. When you do not need to worry about everything, but only about some things, this is already wealth, but few people are ready to admit it. If it is important to teach children to appreciate what they have, then pretending that there is no well-being is ineffective.
There is still a moment that many recommendations on parenting, how not to spoil them, are not suitable for those who were poor. For example: "Give your children an experience instead of gifts." But experience is expensive, often more expensive than a toy. If the idea is to not spend a lot of money on children, or raise them in the spirit, as less fortunate people bring up, then this is not very good advice.
This season, the most coveted toy by children cost $ 79. But a trip with the whole family of five to the Brooklyn Children's Museum for 1 day - $ 55, to the Broknes Zoo - $ 138, and this does not include expenses for transport and lunch.
Another tip is to bring your children to the homeless Thanksgiving cafeteria. My children already know that there are such people, and they have less wealth than they have. They do not need to communicate with the homeless, then to return to their warm home and realize this feeling.
I worry that my children live in a comfortable environment, and I am too sure that good times will never end. The task is to teach them to rejoice in what is, and not to expect it; also the goal is to teach to see in perspective, while providing comfortable conditions. If this does not work, remove the Uber application and lower the room temperature.