We started talking about the party and what they had planned. Her husband rented a big tent for the back yard to put the DJ in ($900.00), the DJ was one of those big time DJ's from LA ($1,500) they were having the food catered (cost unknown) and expecting over 100 people.
Wow, I thought. What are they going to do when she gets married?
This lead me back to a conversation I had with my parents and a good friend a few months back.
They were worried that our children's generation was destined for disappointment and failure. They were calling our kids the "entertainment generation".
My kids have gone to Disneyland over 100 times. Up until a few years ago we had yearly passes. We could go whenever we wanted. Some Sunday afternoons we would tell the kids we were going and they would act disappointed. Do we have to? I really don't want to go today. I never would have said that when I was a kid. Then again, my family went once a year. Not 3 or 4 times a month.
It was about this time I started thinking that maybe I was ruining our kids.
By giving them so much I was ruining their experience of the simple pleasures in life.
When I was a kid birthday parties consisted of cake, ice cream, pin the tail on the donkey, maybe a pinata, and if your party was really cool some goody bags and maybe a clown.
Our kids have gone to Birthday parties that probably were as elaborate and cost as much as my wedding. Huge theme parties, with carnival atmospheres.
I didn't get a manicure and pedicure for the first time until I was in my 20's. My mom didn't get one until she was in her 70's. Yet the teenagers I run into today seem to get manicures weekly and Mom and Dad hand over the cash for this "must have" expense without question.
What is going to happen when our kids move out? Very few of them will be able to afford all of the "extras" that there parents have bestowed upon them on a weekly basis.
I am sure that all of these parent love their kids very much and want to make them happy. I want my kids to be happy too. However, I am a little worried.
Will they feel discontent with their lives? Will they ever feel satisfied? Will they know contentment and thankfulness for what they have. Are we robbing them of the personal satisfaction of working hard for something and then having the ability to buy it themselves?
I have been thinking and praying about this topic a lot lately. The Bible talks a lot about expectations for parents and how we should be raising our children.
Am I teaching my children to be givers instead of receivers? Am I correcting them as the Bible would have me do or am I giving in to their earthly desires?
The Bible is full of stories about children who didn't turn out very well because there parent's made sure they never wanted for anything.
Our oldest son wants a new baseball bat. I could go and buy it for him. I said no.
However, I did tell him that if he re stained the wooden play set in the backyard I would pay him a good wage. He could earn the money for his bat himself.
He wasn't very happy. Why can't I just buy it for him?
We live in what I would call an upper middle class neighborhood. We were lucky. We bought before the big boom and now our home is worth 3 times what we paid for it.
The area above us was recently developed and beautiful homes were built where there used to be Orange Groves and open space. These homes sold for between 1-3 million dollars.
Our town has changed a lot. I'm not sure I like it.
Our kids go to school with friends whose parents are very wealthy. The parking lot at the school is full of BMW's, Mercedes, and new SUV's. No this is not the teachers parking lot but the student parking lot.
I feel like our kids are growing up in a fairy tale world where if you want it you can just get it. Most of these kids will tell you that they will be wealthy like their parents when they grow up. However, if you ask them how that will happen they have no idea.
I find myself wanting to sell our home, move to the south or mid west, buy some land, and build a home in a simpler place.
I am really tired of California and the "Hollywood mentality" of more is better.
Friends, I need help. Tell me what part of the country you live in and if these same trends have permeated your towns.
How do you handle them?
If we were to consider moving where should we move to? Where is the best place you know of to raise a family?
Are there still places out there where life is simple and family is number one?
What do you think?
Editors Note: I just read an article that said 80% of all breast augmentations (boob jobs) are done in California. Why am I not surprised?