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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

What’s Special Anymore?

Cultural and societal observer that I am, it has come to my attention that there’s little about life that’s “special” anymore.  Back in the Dark Ages of my Euro upbringing, we would “dress” for dinner.  Now you’d be hard-pressed to find a family that deviates from t-shirts and flip-flops even for the highest holidays….

It’s not just the casual aspect of our culture, it’s the sense of entitlement at any age.  Three-year-olds need motorized cars and five-year-olds are wearing high heels, tripping through the grocery store.  Kids go “steady” by fourth grade and are dropped off at PG-13 movies way before that.  They drink lattes at Starbucks when they’re barely in high school.

What’s to look forward to?  Used to be we had to “wait” to get our ears pierced, wear a little bit of mascara, go out to eat, or wear stockings.  Now it’s reported that even adult women don’t wear nylons, except in the most conservative of circles, industries, or climates.

It’s instant gratification, I say.  It’s a credit card culture.  It’s called don’t put off till tomorrow what you can be doing today.

On the one hand, children are expecting privileges and perks at younger and younger ages, while being told to “wait” for the things that really matter.  When our oldest son watched a family member go through a terrible cancer bout and miraculously pull through, he wished to visit children’s cancer wards and encourage them.

No can do.  There were age limits, after all.  He’d need to be in his later teens, at least.

But he could probably get a tattoo, learn to shoot a gun, or skateboard away his every spare moment.  We as his parents could give him an allowance just for breathing, load him up with mind-numbing electronics, and stuff him with fast food every day.

Which begs the question:  what’s “special” anymore?  Does waiting for something build character, do constant privileges give us a sense of non-stop entitlement, and does a casual attitude toward most everything breed lazy people who are unwilling to make an effort for anything or anyone?

What’s special for your family, and why?



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2 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar Sybil says:

    When you say that there is little in life that is special anymore , one has to realize that this is all up to the parents. Yes, societal peer pressures affect our children and they will want the cell phones, the high heels, Starbucks, etc. all too early in life. I think, as an example, some of us do say, “I know your friend gets to go to the PG 13 movie and is 10 years old, but in our family, we can’t let you do that because there are things in that movie that are too old for you”. And there might be whining and complaining, “You NEVER let me do ANYTHING”. But, despite that, they won’t go to inappropriate places or get the things that are beyond their age. Television and computers play a huge part with the advertising they do to lure kids to get their products. If parents stand their ground and children know early on that they are not going to do things or get items before the parents feel it is time, and it is explained calmly why it is not age appropriate, I think that even though the child may not seem to her happy about it, they feel that they are protected. I think you need to pay the child the respect of explaining carefully and lovingly why they won’t be able to have or do what they ask for, not just say NO. Also, if the children don’t dress for special occasions, whose fault is that? In our family, dressing for special occasions, shows respect for the holiday, for your family, for your community, for your friends. And for heavens sake, no dirty tennis shoes with the outfit – lol.
    What is special for our family? Lots. Wonderful family vacations where we go places that are fun for the whole family is the first that comes to mind. Big parties where family and friends are invited and most of the time the parties have themes which show through special decorations and special foods that all fit the theme. This all says to the child…you are special to us . Laughter – always laughter. All kinds of ways of showing our love from kisses to little presents, to big presents, to compliments, to spending individual time with each child, to emotional support, to listening, to showing delight in them, to making sure that we as parents don’t take the easy road and let the children do or have what is not age appropriate.

    When we first had children I wrote in a journal and I said that I thought raising my children was going to be the most difficult thing I would ever do in life. I meant because I wanted to do right by them in shaping them into people that were responsible, loving, caring and all of the things most parents want for their children. I was right, it was hard because it is so consuming. But, it was worth it. We have two totally grown children and one that is almost grown. Most of our work in raising them is done. It’s been many many years of hard work, but I truly believe that you always have to have their best interests in mind all throughout the years of raising them and then you have to carry that out. And the joy that is returned to you is insurmountable.

    • avatar admin says:

      That is beautiful, Sybil! With most of your children well on their way, it gives hope to those of us still “in the trenches”. And I agree with the dirty tennis shoes, lol! We had some very nice people come up to our family recently in an eatery that was not very fancy. The children were dressed simply, but neatly–sweaters and khaki pants types of outfits. I guess it could be construed as “dressed-up” in some ways in that it could go to a Thanksgiving dinner, but no party dresses or anything like that. Anyway, one lady said, “I wish my son would dress like that, but I can’t get him into anything other than a clean t-shirt.” If he’s older, and this has been how she’s been handling it for years, it’s going to be difficult to change. But if she taught him from a younger age that there are special times and special places, it makes it easier. Why did she give all of her power away? And I agree, let the kids know with LOVE when you say no. It goes a long way….

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