What is the difference between a child being spoiled and loved? Big difference, HUGE difference. I began thinking about this recently when I told a family member our plans for Brayden's birthday on Saturday.
Brayden is in love with trains right now. We have train cd's and books from the library, he has a whistle and engineer hat, and loves his train set. So we decided the best gift for his birthday would be to take him to ride on a real train. So we will travel to Jeremy's parents and board the Indiana South Shore Line. Jeremy granfather happened to be a conductor for this line! So several of Jeremy's family are going to go with us to Chicago and go to the Science and Industry Museum, which also has several train exhibits. We told Brayden that this was his gift. He is beyond thrilled, he is counting down the days. Of course we both made him something for his birthday too, but we will not buy anything except some ice cream to go with the cake I'll make. So when I told this family member about our plans for Brayden's 5th birthday he said half jokingly, "He's spoiled rotten." To which I took no offense because I know this person so well. His family never celebrated birthdays and anything other than a cake and ice cream is deemed extravagant.
This did get me thinking about spoiled vs. loved. A child that is spoiled is given lots of stuff, but not lots of time. Stuff can never replace presence. They are allowed to do what ever they want, and not given proper discipline. After all, discipline (not the same a punishment) takes time. We have to talk, talk, talk and be good examples and wait for all that to sink in and take root in our child's heart. A spoiled child is made to think he is the most important person, instead a part of a whole. Think of the spoiled children you know, and I'm sure you know some!, they are self absorbed and entitled. Pretty sure that isn't who my children are, although they have their moments!! I have just begun reading a new book entitiled "Raising Unselfish Children in a Self-Absorbed World" by Jill Rigby. Resources like this can help us make sure we don't fall into the trap of letting our kids becoming spoiled. Giving a child a fertile home ground in which to grow mentally, spiritually and physically is not spoiling them. It's giving them what they deserve.