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Piles o’ Presents

Piles o’ Presents

I’ve been thinking more about presents and kids, and it occurred to me that I received piles of presents as a child. (I’ll have to see if I can find one photo in particular that demonstrates.) I traveled to Europe multiple times as a teen. But I didn’t take that stuff for granted. Beyond knowing that I would most likely get a box of Bauer’s mints from my great-grandparents and looking forward to that box all year. So I’m wondering what might have kept me from taking those things for granted.

The lessons I learned as a kid were: Great Grandma & Grandpa send mints because that’s what they can afford and they want us to know they care, grandparents spoil me a few times a year, parents spoil me once a year, always write thank you notes, and if I want something else I’d better work for it first. I think my parents did things right in a lot of ways, especially by providing incentives and choices:

“Sure, you can go to Germany next summer, if you save up enough money first.”

“Sure, we’ll buy you a very cool car for your 16th birthday. It’ll arrive on a flatbed, won’t even start (let alone run), will have 4 flat tires, and no interior. Then after a year of earning money to buy parts and spending hours on the weekends helping your dad fix it up while you see it sitting in the driveway every day, you’ll be able to drive it.”

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“Yes, we’ll take you across the country on vacation to Disney World after we get back from Australia. We’ll buy you one souvenir, but anything else you want is up to you. Do you want to see what we’ll be doing in Australia and New Zealand?”

“Yes, we’ll give you $5 a week for lunch money. You can either go out to eat one day a week with it! Or use it for gas in your car, or walk to school and get lunch every day in the cafeteria. It’s up to you.”

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  • My parents were the same way. I think people have appreciation for those items that they have to “work” to receive. If someone is given a car, never has to make payments or insurance payments, they seem to take it for granted. That may not always be the case but I’ve observed it many times with my friends who are parents.

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