I am not fair and I do deprive my children.
I had one such encounter this past Sunday with my son David. He came to me with a heavy sigh and the famous "Mom, I'm bored." cry.
The next thing I knew I was channeling my mother and I heard the words come out of my mouth, "Go read a book then."
I heard those words many times as a child. As a side note, it stuck. My love for reading grew. I found my boredom would disappear as I entered worlds unexplored! My mom took me several times monthly to our local public library. I grew up loving it there. Of course when you are young you don't really see the depth of it all. Now looking back that was something she "gave" me that has made me "richer" than any material thing could.
Back to David's boredom though. Apparently the answer of reading a book was not acceptable as I heard a big fat "NO! I'm bored. I want to play video games."
My next idea. Hey go get the Leapster and play the games or watch the Bill Nye videos.
"MOM! That is not video games. I want to play the ones like I do at Bobby and Rebecca's."
Oh, I get it now. He wants to play the Wii. Something we do NOT have. We have no other gaming systems aside from their Mobi-Go and Leapster. And I am A-OK with that.
"Well I'm sorry David, we don't have a Wii. You're Leapster is just fine. If you don't want to play with that, go play with your Legos, or trains, or rescue center, or planes, or ride your bike......"
Really, such First World problems. So many children with out and my children are truly wealthy. I was frankly a little irritated now. I like that he is making friends and plays at their home. But I'm not a fan of sitting in front of video games with there is a perfectly good yard to play in.
Now, you would have thought the end was near because our home suddenly filled the sounds of lamenting [aka: super heavy crying].
Well now, this mom was really thinking about Bill Cosby's line by this time: "I brought you into this world and I can take you out!"
Wow, the power of technology over a young mind. I looked at him and said: "I will tell you what David, since you are acting this way over a video game, you can rest assured that we absolutely will not be getting one in the forseable future."
At this point, the weeping and gnashing of teeth occurred and storm off into his room. With a reappearance and "VIDEO GAMES ARE FUN!!"
To which I calmly replied: "Keep it up and you won't even go down to Bobby and Rebecca's for a long time. Especially to play video games."
Cue slamming door.
In times like this I honestly think back to a mission trip I took about 16 years ago with a church I attended in Ohio. We traveled to a remote village in Honduras. A true poverty setting with literal fallen logs used as posts, and tarps as roofs, or one room wooden homes with no window panes and an outside make shift oven. People were luckily to bath once a week in the river. Many children had only one set of clothing, let alone ANY toys. And many only ate a few times a week. Heartbreaking and it left a lasting impression on me.
And here my own child is screaming about the injustices of not having a video game.
Was I sad for my child?
Absolutely. I was sad that he doesn't understand yet how very "rich" he is. I know he will one day. We do talk about it quite a bit.
Perhaps one day we can take a trip like that together.
I hope and pray that one day he does truly see that while have "things" can be nice. It is not the important thing in life. Loving others, loving your family, helping others ARE the important things.
So, yes in the Gouge home there are no game systems beyond the educational Leapsters. Children do not have cell phones or tablets. Yes, they are totally spoiled and have an old school TV in their room with a cheap DVD player for some of their movies and educational shows. But they have certain times they can watch. It's not a free for all. They don't get every knew fad toy coming and going. But yes they are spoiled because I can take them to Disney.
I love that I *can* give them things and provide them with fun.
However, it touches me even more when they do "get it" and spend hours outside digging in the dirt, make believing as they play, and venturing into those unexplored worlds.
Life is so much more than "things". And if not giving my child everything that they want makes me unfair, then call me unfair.
I didn't have everything growing up. But I did have love and that made all the difference!