Tuesday, November 25, 2008

To Love You Is To Give You Less

"Loving a child doesn't mean giving in to all his whims; to love him is to bring out the best in him, to teach him to love what is difficult.” -Nadia Boulanger

I really like this quote. I am holding on to this as I ride the wave of Christmas. The journey of Christmas takes me past shouting commercials, colorful packaging and the newest talking toy - each trying to take advantage of a mother's desire to make her child happy and give him only the best.

But I am almost daily having to remind myself, the best I give him is to give him less.

Our little bear is only one year old. But I have enjoyed sneaking to the toy aisle to play with the newest little toys, watching his face light up when he realizes squeezing a stuffed animal can provide such animation and cheerful singing.

But while in the toy aisle, I feel something within me that says, "You can't be doing this, you know. This isn't consistent for what you want for your son." I quickly remember that I can't sneak over to the toy aisle to give myself a cheap thrill and believe that my son isn't being affected. There isn't anything wrong with the toy aisle per se. But if I continue to go there (as though it's some forbidden fruit), I will eventually find myself giving in to the pressure these toys create.

Even though he's small, the entire aisle has been researched to connect with his brain in a way that will get the toy sold. And I'm naive to think I won't fall for their well-researched schemes when I'm playing around.

And so, I resign myself to the truth, which is not "giving in to all his whims.” As a mother, the best thing I can do for him is to teach him to love what is diffcult: love the toy you have to imagine can sing and dance, rather than buy the toy that can actually do that.

In this, I give him the best.

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