In the last post, about shopping and indulging children, Millie left a comment that set me to thinking:
" What I wonder about is when the kids get a little older, what is going to make them happy. They have already had all the things it took a lifetime for us elders to earn by a lot of hard work."
That is the same thing I said many years ago when I saw a young woman who was my age at the time. Mr. Kenju and I were attending a wedding in Greenwich, Connecticut, of one of his college classmates. As we were standing in the reception line, several young women entered the country club in fur coats, each one more exquisite than the last. I no longer subscribe to the theory that it is okay to wear furs - but I was not against it then. One of the women had on a full-length chinchilla coat that was so gorgeous I couldn't take my eyes off it. Another classmate told me that she had worn a full-length sable coat the night before to the rehearsal dinner. I could only think, "What on earth does she have to look forward to if she has all this at the age of 23??!!" I realized that the coats could well have belonged to her mother, but even so, she had access to them and not many of us can say that. My mom had a mink stole (like nearly every woman in the 40's) but I would not have been caught dead in it.
What are we teaching children when we indulge them so deeply at a tender age? They are learning that if they want something badly enough, mommy or daddy will wave a credit card and get it for them. That breeds a generation or more of people who believe in the buy now - pay later theory, which leads to the shows I have seen on Oprah recently called "The Debt Diet", and the things that Suze Orman preaches on her show. We all need to learn fiscal responsibility and how to curb tendencies toward overindulging. How do you accomplish this?