All my life I’ve heard how impressionable children are. I never knew how true that is until I became a parent. Lots of things in our house are off limits to our children, particularly my computer, cell phone and tablet. My girls do not have the liberty to watch certain movies or shows enjoyed by my husband and I. They are also not allowed to wear my jewelry. I came home from work the other day and one daughter had on my Iolite, trillion–cut ring, while the other was wearing my ankle bracelet around her wrist. I’m the heavy at our house, the party of no. I say no more than John Boehner. I’m more than aware there are things I need to flex on, but when it comes to things that influence the behavior and attitude of my children, right now the answer is no.
My oldest daughter is older than her seven years. I’ve always said she’s advanced and to me, seems very much in the world. She has seen expansive and expensive homes on television decorated with granite counter tops and marble floors, open air living spaces and shapely, lagoon-like pools surround by stone, rather than concrete; the ocean steps away. She wants to be a princess and often complains that I treat her like Cinderella. In my defense, the child exaggerates. The only thing she has to do is pick up the toys she carelessly leaves in almost every room, pick up her drawings, clean up her art supplies, and keep her room tidy.
The homes she has seen on television is what she wants when she grows up, she says.
“You can’t have that unless you get a good education. You have to study hard and graduate college,” said her Grammy, my mother.
“I want to have lots of money and be famous,” Lauryn continues.
“Not without that college education.” Grammy presses.
Then off she twirls through the house, without a care, wearing her tiara. And I am envious. I wish I could have those years back…the many things I’d do differently.
My youngest daughter watches her older sister and lingers on my lap, the back of her head pressed against my chest.
“I’m going to be a hair fixer, Grammy.” She announces.
Grammy smiles and says, “You are? Hair dressers have to work hard and sometimes don’t make a lot of money.”
“Lauryn wants to be rich, Grammy, I just want to be happy,” Lindsey says as she squirms off my lap and runs to the other room with her sister.
The wisdom of this five-year old amazed me and my eyes began to dampen.
Money and possessions can bring happiness for a season. Big houses and fame can tumble and fade and in all reality, have no place in the big picture.
Having character and values, sweetness and compassion are worth more than any home or occupation. Being humble, grounded and uncompromising in truth and goodness will go further than any dollar.
Me too, Lindsey, me too. I just want to be happy and I think I am. Just remember the next time we go out and you ask for a new toy, the answer will probably be no.