Wednesday 9 April 2008

The problem with things..

These past few weeks and months I have been brought face to face with thinking about things... material things. In Sean's life in particular. Like I said in a previous post, this country has gone through some major changes in recent years and people have less children and more money to spend on them and this, of course, has the potential to impact in a terrible way on the Christian family. I was reading Tamara's blog and she touches on the whole idea of kids and things in her post "Material Kids".

The reason Sean has been on my mind recently is because his birthday is coming up in June. (yes I know it is months away!) Anyway, because of the amount of gifts Sean got in December and the toys he already has, Niall and I decided not to allow him any more toys until next December. You might think this is extreme but tell me; what is the point of making him give up some of the toys he already has, say lego, and then buy more for him? There's just no sense in it.

This is what we have been doing with Sean since the Lord saved me 6 years ago in August when Sean was 3. That Christmas, after talking to adults and children in the Church, I decided not to bother with the Santa thing, and to tell him the truth. I was assured that it wouldn't make a blind bit of difference. (and it didn't!)

Because of the nature of his father's death, Sean has never been short of good presents from well meaning relations and gets them on a regular basis, December and June. Following the good example of my friend and sister, Jean, I got Sean into the good habit of passing on some of his toys before each birthday and before December.

Anyway, he developed a great love of lego and every year gets boxes of it as gifts. This, and his model trains has been the only toys that we didn't pass on and so he has quite a lot! Every week he plays with his lego.

It's the same with money. Niall and I give him 3.50 euros a week pocket money. He gives some of this to the Lord, puts one euro away every week towards paying for gifts for his friends and family, and has, for months now, been saving the remainder.
Other people give him money every now and again and he is a great wee saver. Last year he saved 40 euros and gave it to the Church for buying paint for the toilets!!
We haven't had a birthday party for him these two years because his Nanny has one for him and he always used to share one with a friend from the church in their home! When we has a party for him 3 years ago he asked for money from his little friends, instead of gifts, and gave the money to a school... (having said that, he still had all the major gifts from family!)

Why am I saying all this? Well, I am getting to it! For his birthday in June he wants an Apple ipod touch. (300 euros) It seems to me to be a lot of money and also a gadget only teenagers and adults have. It wont cost us a penny because like I said, he has saved over 100 already and the rest will be given to him in the form of cash presents. Whatever he gets in cash as gifts he always (happily I am glad to say) tithes.

I got a book recently which I blogged about, called 'How to world proof your kids' and I have to say that although my first thoughts were to cringe in anticipation of reading it and having al my faults and mistakes in rearing Sean exposed, I was happy and surprised to find that we are not doing a bad job on Sean after all!

So after talking to my pastor and two friends,we are letting him go ahead.

Although we are not to gage ourselves by what the world does, this is what his best friend has..
Play Station3
X Box
Nintendo DS
Satellite Stations etc...

We don't have regular tv or any satellite stations, we don't have any form of consoles, PSP, Play Stations, Nintendo's or anything else of that kind. It's been a bit hard to keep them out of the home, especially since only last year we were offered, 2 Play Stations and a PSP for free!

I spoke to Sean yesterday while going shopping and told him a little about how I had felt before reading the book and he was very surprised! He said, "Mum, you should ask me, you are doing a great job! Just ask me questions and I will tell you.' So I asked him about things that we wouldn't allow him to have and watch as a child, and he had only positive stuff to say about it all. He can see why we did it, and even said that he was talking to one of his friends recently about Eugeo cards that his friend collects and his friend said that although he didn't like them, he was addicted to buying them...

So that's it. This year we have decided to have a barbecue at the beach for Sean on his birthday. We will be inviting my family, Niall's family, Sean's first father's family and of course the Church family! If God is willing, it should be a good day for fellowship and fun with the kids.

iPod touch

1 comment:

Cassie - Homeschooling Four said...

We constantly have those type of conversations in our home. My 8 year old has been asking for a cell phone or ipod for 2 years!! How ridiculous is that?! She can tell me all her friends who have one. I am not impressed and do not think she needs either at her age.
We also don't have cable t.v. or any game system for them to play.
I think it's great that Sean has gained appreciation for what you are allowing him to have this year and that he shows wonderful character as far as material things are concerned.
I think you are doing the right thing.