Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Raising Children without a Sense of Entitlement



My daughter Leanne met a nice older man during her time of ballroom dancing. He has since become a part of our family. We invite him for family parties, holidays and such. He has no family living close by. He is Chinese and I sense that because of the language barrier most people don’t have
patiences to deal with communication issues. Our family however had no problem. When he came to our home last year for Thanksgiving dinner he told us this was his first Thanksgiving (after 20 years living in this country, no one had invited him!). He also told another one of our daughters that Leanne was the nicest person he had ever met. All she did was extend her hand in friendship. Amazing what that can do for a person’s life. Now he is friends with all of our family and no holiday or family get together would be complete without him.

But what does this have to do with the title of this article? Well he said to Leanne one time (after meeting many of her siblings), how is it your parents have raised so many children without a sense of entitlement? I was taken aback when Leanne told me this. I never really thought about it. It is not like I set out to raise children that did not expect that anyone or any institution owed them something. But that is what I have. I have children, all of them, that know that if they want something in life it is not someone else’s responsibility to give that to them.

Maybe because we raised 8 children on one income we were only able to give our children what they needed and not every want and desire they had. My husband makes a comfortable income, maybe not what most people feel they could raise a family on, but comfortable enough for us. But it did not afford to give our children all their dreams in life. My daughter Hannah was telling her husband that .. “yes, we had everything we needed but if we wanted something beyond that we had to work for it” (her husband’s comment by the way was.. “that is the way it should be”). She remembers babysitting a house full of children for $5 an hour and was thankful for the opportunity. She was able to purchase some fun things she wanted. She never expected that we would provide that for her. The same is true for the rest of her siblings. Emily and Leanne raised 70 chickens and took care of them and sold their eggs for a profit so they could acquire the things they wanted. Jacob worked for neighbors (several of them) doing everything from yard work, bucking hay in the summer, painting fences to cutting wood and doing carpentry work. He learned the value of work and more importantly the value of working for what you want. Not expecting it is someone else’s responsibility to provide that for him.

Today my children have found ways to put themselves through college, find employment, understand the value of working hard for what you want and not expecting that anyone owes you anything in life. Life is what you make it. And do the best you can with what you have to make happen what you want.

If you want to raise children that do not feel that the world owes them anything, teach them to work. Start at home and teach them to participate in everyday life. Teach them to work for what they desire. At 12 my sons were mowing our lawns and working around our property, ready to mow the neighbor’s lawn, pick weeds, paint fences and more. My girls did child care, housekeeping and watching an elderly family member for a friend, raised hens and sold eggs. They learned the value of work as well as working for your goals and dreams.

One thing I see a lot of today is busyness. Today children and teenagers are rushed to and fro to every type of activity while mom becomes worn out and the paycheck can’t stretch far enough. I know there are things that most children experience today that my children did not. And I know these things can enrich a child’s life. In moderation I’m sure they are fine. Personally with the number of children I have had there was just not the dollars to afford for each child to have these types of experiences (nor did I have the energy to be taking several children in several different directions constantly). At times I wondered if my children were missing out. Of course they did a few things as time, opportunity and finances allowed. But mostly they did not have the modern day experience of participating in sports, karate, dance, scouts, 4H, and so on.

Maybe this is why as my children grew into their teenage years they were not looking to me to make things happen in their lives. They figured out how to do it themselves. How to start a business, how to be a good employee (for the neighbors, you want to work hard so they call you back :), how to put themselves through college, how to achieve their dreams and not to feel that anyone owed this to them.

We are different for sure, we don’t keep up the "Joneses" (and make no apologies for this), we don’t get stressed when we don’t do things the same way most of our neighbors do it with their kids, we march to our own drum beat, and it looks different. But as I sit back and look over the years of raising my children I have to say I don’t feel like we did it wrong, I like the results. I see kids (now adults) that know how to work, and have worked for what they want in life, and as adults, lead productive lives and don’t expect that anyone owes them anything… and most of all my kids like the results too. None of my children feel they missed out on anything. They’ve told me over and over, they loved their childhood and have loved that they learned how to work for what they want and how to achieve their goals in life.

Now I’m at the other end, seeing the results of raising my children (well, almost, I still have a couple chicks in the nest :). And I like what I see. If you want to raise children in this day and age that will work for what they want in life and not feel that the world owes them anything.. teach them to work, teach them to serve, teach them to love, teach them to strive for and work for their goals. They will learn so much from the process and achieve their dreams in life, if they desire to do this (there is always a "free will" going on, but if they know that they are responsible to make happen what they want to happen in life, it changes free will just a bit). But if every want and desire is given to them, they will grow up feeling that “someone” owes this to them. At least that is my personal opinion from my own experiences. And if I had it to do all over again, I would do it just the same way. 


 

17 comments:

  1. Many regrets here. <3 I am the worn out mom with the stretched out check book you described here. We're not homeschooling anymore. Correlation?

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    1. Sharon, lots of correlation.. when we compare what we "Should" be doing versus what we CAN actually do.. they don't match up.. Better to follow what God has led you to do and skip the rest.. your kids will grow up just fine without all of the extras that are deemed so necessary in our society today.. (((hugs))) & prayers.. Crystal

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    2. I haven't read all the comments, but this one is one I wanted to comment to right away. I have 2 boys and they are wonderful people. They were not homeschooled, but we wish we would have. We also did not try to keep up with anyone, we didn't have television and still don't. We read a lot. I worked after they went to school and my biggest regret is that I wish I'd have been satisfied with our one income and truly lived the life you are living. I feel like we missed out on so much by thinking money was more important than life. I wish we'd have spent more time together and made memories. Seems like we were always rushing around. My kids don't have the memories I have of growing up. You can't go back and do things over. I'm proud of my children, just not so proud of myself for making poor decisions. Thankfully, life goes on and we are very happy, close family. Young moms are hard on themselves. Just do the best you can and let God direct you.

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  2. Great advice Crystal! Too many families are pampering the children, giving them everything they want. I don't understand when I see 9 year old children walking around with $400 iphones! and think they deserve them.

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    1. I've seen the phone thing too.. makes me shake my head..

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  3. Thank you for the article. You expressed so well how my husband and I are striving to raise our eight children. Our boys (13 and 11) have started a lawn mowing/snow removal business. My parents have wanted to buy laptops, etc. for our children and we've asked them not to. We feel like they need to be well established in a work ethic before they have their own computer. Sharing a computer or a bedroom also helps them not to have a sense of entitlement. Thank you for setting a great example and sharing how your kids feel about it.

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    1. So true Jennifer, sharing bedrooms helps as well! All my children have purchased their own computers.. after earning the money for them. I think it is wonderful that your boys have started their own business.. Crystal :)

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  4. Wonderful post Crystal. I couldn't agree with you more! This is how we raised our children as well. They have all turned into hardworking adults, who take care of of their families themselves.

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    1. I know YOU understand Winona!! You and I think a like.. and your kids are awesome.. raised with good values.. :) Crystal <3

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  5. Hello -- enjoyed reading your column. I'm not trying to be a smart aleck, but the word is "patience", not "patients" in the first paragraph.

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    1. Thank you Anon.. I'm not my best editor at times.. ;)

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  6. Oh Crystal what a beautiful post. I am raising 4 and working ( we are on my income) and it is so hard sometimes. My kids complain constantly that they don't have what other kids have (they go to school with very priviledge children) they have to work at home and they complain all the time. We don't have enough money to do all the things I did while I grew up and my parents constantly tell me that my kids are missing skiing, spending summer at the ocean, going here and there. It hurts so much. But today your post is so beautiful, it gives me hope that I am doing the best I can and that at the end my children will be okay... well at least I hope. God bless. Thank you Crystal.

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    1. Aww Agnes.. your children will be fine.. we do what we can.. comparison is our worst enemy .. Your kids are not missing out.. they are experiencing their own unique upbringing.. We all take our lessons from life and move forward with them.. you are doing the best you can, and you know what? .. that has to be enough.. because it is what God has given you.. prayers & blessings to you and your sweet children.. Crystal

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  7. Well done.
    We live a bit isolated and I've had a hard time finding opportunities for our kids. I think I need to encourage them to talk to church members about work opportunities.
    Blessings,
    Laura
    Harvest Lane Cottage

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    1. absolutely Laura.. Church is a great place to start... when people find kids that are responsible and dependable and will work hard.. the word gets around.. that is how many of my children got work ..

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  8. I know this is quite an old post but I just discovered it....and oh so timely. My kids are finishing their last 3 weeks of public schools then we are making the switch to homeschooling. Eeek! We are also beginning our own little homestead, which right now just consists of 2 rabbits, 6 chicks, a stray cat and a few plants. Beginners =) But I LOVE this post and it's exactly how I want to raise my children!

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    1. My prayers and blessing on your new adventure.. life is wonderful and precious.. I don't regret one single day spent with my children.. they are amazing adults today... I wish the best!! God bless you.. Crystal..

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