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Fostering Consumer Attitudes in Children

This morning, letting my dogs out and enjoying the wind in my face, I caught myself thinking: What did I appreciate the most during the winter holiday season as a child? Unwrapping the one and only gift from my parents, that wasn’t even wrapped in pretty paper as we have now? —No. Eating a holiday dinner prepared overnight by my mom, bustling by the wood burner till one or two in the morning? —No. To be forgiven for consuming a lot of chocolate that day? —No. The most valuable thing was decorating the Christmas tree with my mom. On December 24th of each year, around 8 p.m., we decorated the Christmas tree together, unwrapping glass ornaments from within their newspaper and napkin cocoons. I never knew which one I was going to find. It was fun to discover an ornament. "Oh, look! Here’s Santa Claus! And here’s an icicle!" I commented with joy. These were the most beautiful and unforgettable moments I spent with my mother. Her smile was rare, but I could always see her kind smile as she hung the ornaments upon the tree. Nowadays, the abundance of nonessential but cool things steal that feeling from people - the simple joy and appreciation. Most parents try to cater to their child’s every desire. Sometimes my imagination plays wild, and I see moms and dads racing to stuff their "pumpkins" and “honeypots” with spoons full of this and that. Tons of presents under the Christmas tree bring only momentary joy, if even that. Then, priority is given to the coolest gift - an Xbox, for example. We have taught our children to value material things more than time spent with us, and we set them up to judge people by their financial well-being.

Needless to say, no one is getting younger, but all of us are certainly getting older, and what we plant is what we harvest. If your adult child asks for money for mowing your lawn or got into the habit of calling you before the holiday season only, expecting some money from you whereas forgets to call on your birthday, that shows that your child developed a consumer relationship with you. I agreed that we do not always have time to spend with our kids. Sometimes, it is easier for us to stuff them with items that contain “plastic” “made in China”, or “proudly made in America”, etc. But by doing this, although we don’t even mean such an unattractive outcome, we are distancing ourselves from our children and then, it seems to be late to ask your adult child: “Would you like to play a board game with me?” or “Hey, let’s go fishing or hiking!” There could many other events based on your family interests. Choose a destination, create an atmosphere where your child remembers you, and not some plastic toy or a piece of metal. Before your child chooses his or her own way to treat you in the future, help them understand the true value of your relations.

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