Raising an Appreciative Child

I’m thankful to live in one of those towns that only really exists in the movies or on a television show. The weather is beautiful a majority of the time, there is plenty to do, everyone (mostly) is friendly and it is close enough to commute to a larger city. I didn’t always live here so I think that is partially why I have such a respect and admiration for it. There is rarely a time when there isn’t something going on. There are movies and music in the park, festivals that celebrate the holidays, festivals that celebrate beer and wine and so much more. So many folks that grew up here say crap like “ugh I hate living in a small town.” Too bad this isn’t really a small town and you don’t know what you’re talking about.

Small towns don’t typically have tourist attractions in them and enough things to do during the summer to keep the kids from terrorizing shopping centers. Small towns usually aren’t listed in magazines as hot places to visit when vacationing in a certain state. Small towns don’t have incredible concert venues that legends come and play at. I get so fired up about people ragging on this city because it is such a special place to me.

This place is where I was able to escape to when I was young and left a terrible situation. This place is where I grew as an actual person and felt like I could be myself. I learned to swim here, trust family and make friends, succeed and fail on my own. This place is where I met my husband and married him, bought my house and gave birth to my daughter. There will never be another place as special to my heart.

All of this is leading up to my thoughts on truly treasuring something. Coming from a background where we had nothing, I feel like I appreciate things more because I know what it is like to be happy to afford new clothes for school. You would think that someone who doesn’t have much would want so much but when you know you aren’t going to have it you just don’t. This is where it gets tricky as a mom. Do we give things to baby P that I want her to have because I never had them, or do we restrict what we give her so she understands the value of things?

I want her to know the feeling of appreciating something as minute as where she lives because it’s so beautiful. I was never given a car and my husband bought his himself and drove it until it broke down when we were together. That truck meant everything to him and buying my car on my own was such a milestone for me. Would it mean the same thing for her if she did it herself? Would it be different if we bought it with her and had strict rules that could get the car taken away? We have good friends who are going to pay for their kids’ college because their parents paid for theirs and they don’t want them to have debt immediately. I get that, I truly do and I think it is such a wonderful thing for them to do. However, I paid for my school myself and I never switched majors and only had to retake one course, which was an elective. I don’t know if I would be able to say that if someone else had footed the bill.

How can we ensure that our children are thankful and appreciative of what they have?

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