What Is And What Should Never Be

Mama is an elementary school teacher and now that she is out for the summer we are starting to focus on things we want to get done around the house. There are some renovation projects–like we want to add some shelves in the laundry room–and then there is our oldest son, four-year-old B.

During the school year–when I am home with the kids–things kind of fall apart, or they stay just status quo, mainly because I am unwilling to take on anything new. I’m just trying to survive. Now, however, I want us to focus on things I’d like to see change. A primary reason is that we’ve got a quickly developing one-year-old who we could do a little better job with in some respects.

The first son is in some ways a trial run and I’m able to look back and see where I’ve erred. For instance, we’ve always bought him a toy when he wanted and really did not teach him to respect his possessions. As a result, he will leave them out on the back deck in the rain or out at night in the middle of the floor. I’d like to see this change–for one thing, I’m tired of stepping on them (actions figures and Hot Wheels are particularly painful), plus it seems like an important life lesson for B (to take care of what’s important to you)–and I want baby G to act differently as he grows older.

It won’t be easy–and possibly impossible?–but the tag team of Mama and me should be able to carry it out. Otherwise, we will live in a constant state of what is and what should never be.


My Three-Year-Old Might Become a Predatory Capitalist

From an early age–when toddler B was around two-and-a-half–I started to buy him whatever he wanted, and Mama soon followed. Mostly it was toys–which I often wanted myself–or candy or puzzles. Almost a year-and-a-half later we’re still doing it. It’s hard to say no to him and it’s fun to make him happy, but I’m also starting to realize the downside of it.

A couple of weeks ago, he received $5 in the mail from his Nana and Papa. As soon as he saw it, B said, “Let’s go spend it,” and off he and his Mama went to the Dollar Tree. The longer this goes on, though, the more I worry about it. How will we teach our son the value of money, and are we raising a future predatory capitalist. Does it even matter at this point?

I think it does at least on one level. Most parents are able to use the concept of an allowance as a real control measure. If you don’t do your chores, you won’t get your dollar or however much is doled out these days. However, my wife and I are so free with our limited funds when it comes to B that it might be hard to carry out something like that. The other day, I asked the old lady as much, and all she could do was shrug her shoulders. I wonder if it’s too late to start.