I ran into a woman recently (no..I didn’t hurt her!) who became a new mother. Her little daughter is gorgeous, only about 3 months old and has gorgeous blue eyes and an adorable cock-eyed smile.
My wife and I were sitting at our usual coffee shop enjoying our cup of java after one of our long, weekend walks. The sky was clear blue and the sunshine was in full force…it was perfect.
We commented on how awesome looking the infant’s stroller was. We proceeded to be told about the many features of this stroller; almost as if we were being sold on a new car. It seemed to do everything but make coffee! As the mom said, “its the best”.
This expression is one that I often hear wheh parents talk about doing things for their children. They always want to give their kids the best of everything – the best stroller, the best bicycle, the best swim instruction, the best tennis racquet, the best computer…the Rolls Royce of everything!
When I hear this I often wonder if their desire to give their kids the very best is really benefiting their child?
Does an infant really care, one way or another, about how expensive or what kind of engineering went into their ride? Do they care that the “onesy” they are wearing is made from egyptian cotton or worse, cashmere (yes, I did see a cashmere onesey for sale in a downtown Toronto store a number of years ago that sold for $200). Does a 7 year old child care that the tennis racquet they are using for their introductory tennis lessons is the same one used by tennis champion Roger Federer? Will a young child become smarter if they use a $2,000 MacBook versus a $300 no-name laptop computer? Does a teenager really give a shit that they are wearing the same kind of winter coat that mountain explorers wear they when climb Mount Everest?
What about those ridiculous television shows about parents (specifically, mothers) hosting these over-the-top birthday parties for their young children? Will that three year old have any memory of the birthday when Cirque De Soleil came to perform in their backyard?
Do our young children really remember these “acts of love”?
Or, do they remember and benefit from a parent simply spending time with the child and doing something together?
Why do we need to give our children the best of everything when all we need to do, as parents, is to give our children the best of us?
For the price of a hot dog and an order fries (and a hamburger for me which was really good), my younger daughter recently had the best of me. I had to attend a business-related event one evening. I really just had to put in an appearance and then leave. My daughter insisted on coming with me. She didn’t want to come because of where I was going, but simply because she wanted to hang with me. She was my date.
We wound up spending less than an hour at the business event and a longer period of time just hanging out. Between the drive to and from the event and the amount of time we spent at the burger joint, we talked and talked and laughed over stories that we shared. She is a big fan of knowing about my family history. She also likes hearing stories about funny things that happened to me when I was a kid. I could entertain her for hours sharing this kind of stuff with her.
During that time together, she had me all to herself. No distractions, no emails, no phone calls….just pure quality time together. She had the best of me.
I had said this before and will say it again…so I apologize in advance for being repititious…but it needs to be said. While it may be true that children often want things and we, as parents, sometimes overindulge them as a way of making up for the lack of time we give our children, ultimately, our children really just want the best of us. They want our undivided attention; they want us to be with them, talking to them, playing with them, being present.
Spoil your children with your love and attention. That way, they will have the best.