12th July 2012
Children Will Not Remember You
For The Material Things You Provided
But For The Feeling That You Cherished Them
I love this photograph, taken in 1998 of my son Kevin with his daughter Jessica at her Christening.
Whenever I get together with my parents we always love to talk about the family, how is everyone doing, what’s been going on etc.. if I am staying over we have more time to talk and they usually tell me stories about their past or of their parents and grandparents. Between us our observations cover six generations (their grandparents to my grandchildren). As I am sure it is in all families, the lives of my great-grandparents compared to my grandchildren are so vastly different, there have been so many changes to the way our lives are lived.
Looking over the generations I can see how each generation of parents always wanted to do the best for their children and this usually means giving them more than what they had.
For instance, my paternal grandfather was one of many children and told stories of how he would have to share a pair of shoes with his siblings and take it in turns to use them. My dad tells me that when he was told this story as a young boy he would laugh at it and think it was a joke, but as he grew older and began to listen and understand his father he came to realize what a difficult childhood he had, which was vastly different to his own. In some ways my dad did have a difficult childhood as he was born with club feet and also had meningitis when only a few years old, so he spent a lot of his early years in hospital. He was an only child for many years and was doted on by his mother. His father was a man that did not show his affections, but would spend his spare time making wonderful wooden toys for his son and the other children at the hospital, finding his own way of showing his love and gratitude and providing more for his family than he had experienced.
My mother also tells stories of not having much in the way of material things when younger. Born in the East End of London, she was evacuated during World War II along with her older sister and mother to live in Oxford. It wasn’t too long before her father was able to join them and over the years there were three more additions to the family. Sharing homes for quite a few years they finally got their own newly built three bed-roomed house which was an absolute delight for them all.
Listening to my parents stories, it is never the lack of material things that is mentioned but of how much they appreciated whatever they did have. And of how much their parents worked hard to provide for them.
As each generation moves on to the next they aim to provide a better life for their children. I believe that recent generations have been manipulated to focus on the material side of life and it has lead to many people striving to give their children all of the latest toys, fashions and gadgets. Many parents are caught in a catch 22 situation where they spend many hours away from their children, working to provide the best that they can for them, and then feeling guilty for the lack of physical presence they shower them with gifts.
Your children need your presence more than your presents.
The early years of childhood go so fast and are so important, young children need to feel loved and cherished 24/7 to become balanced, confident and happy older children. Children will not miss anything by not having the latest trends of whatever, but they will miss YOU!
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