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    “We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.”

    Frederick Keoniq


    We took a trip to Vancouver recently and the girls were promised one souvenir.  Our holiday was to last five days and my daughters pulled out their ‘one gift per holiday’ cards within the first two hours of our trip.  We were on the ferry when Pip inevitably spotted the gift shop.

    After passing the snuggle test, a small black and white stuffed cat was adopted by Pip, and Fig fell in love with a stuffed snake that tripled her in length.   We reminded our daughters of the gift-purchasing agreement and made sure they understood that these would be the only toys they would purchase on the trip.  Both Pip and Fig understood the deal, and were already smitten with their new pals.  “I hiss you.  I’m a friendly snake.  Hissssss,” was about the extent of our conversations with Fig for the rest of the day.  (You have to imagine the hiss with a lisp for full effect.)

    Crystal the cat and Hiss the snake were by the girls’ sides for the duration of our holiday.  We didn’t see the inside of many shops during our time in Vancouver; it was a holiday spent visiting friends, finding fun playgrounds, introducing our daughters to our favourite restaurant and strolling through Stanley Park.  I ducked out for a solo shopping spree for a few hours one day, but the girls didn’t have many opportunities to desire other toys.

    Until, of course, we found ourselves back on the ferry heading home.  “Mama, Crystal really wants a friend.  I want another stuffy from the gift shop,” Pip whined. And we were off!  The next fifteen minutes was spent reminding Pip of our agreement, telling her that our minds were not going to change, (and whining was not going to help her cause,) and reinforcing the great choice she made in purchasing Crystal.

    “Won’t it be fun to introduce Crystal to your other stuffies at home?”  Pip was overtired and was definitely not at her best, but it was unusual for her to be so persistent.  We were able to redirect Pip’s attention and she eventually dropped the toy issue, but it was unpleasant to say the least.

    How do we help our kids become more appreciative and less greedy?  I know that consistency is huge; they have to know that once we’ve laid down the law, we’re going to stick to our word.  But have we given our daughters too much?  I’m not sure.  I’ve known kids with a lot of material possessions who are gracious and humble and generous.  How do you instill those qualities in your children?

    I know they’re young.  I know it’s normal.  I have a feeling it’s going to take a lot of time, perseverance, consistency and patience on our part, but I maybe it takes a bit of creativity too.  I bet there are some wise parents out there who have some effective suggestions.  Please share.


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