When I was a kid, I remember having a penpal (or two) and I would wait eagerly for the letters and small packages that would occasionally arrive from faraway places. I guess that’s why I love the idea of those subscription boxes that seem to be everywhere these days. Scheduling something to come every month may not be as spontaneous as a penpal, but I figured it would still has the same net happiness effect.
That’s why, when my daughter received her first surprise from Sock Panda, I expected her to be pretty excited about it. I brought it in from the mailbox, announced, “You’ve got mail!” and expected her to come running. She didn’t. I brought the package in to her. She glanced at it. “What is it?” she asked, barely looking up from the game she was playing on her computer. “I don’t know,” I lied. “Open it up.”
She opened it and pulled out a note and 2 pairs of socks. She read the note (which claimed the socks came from the “Sock Fairy”), looked at the cute socks for less than 5 seconds, and went back to her game. No excitement, no wondering who the Sock Fairy might be, no real interest at all.
Raising Entitled Kids
This incident got me thinking about entitlement and how so many kids just think they deserve all the world has to offer (and therefore don’t get excited about special treats) while there are other children out there (in our own communities and across the world) who just hope to have a decent meal and a safe place to live. It’s not fair.
So the question became, what should I do about it? I considered cancelling the subscription but actually my daughter really does need socks. I thought about sitting down and having a conversation with her about being grateful, but it wasn’t her fault she didn’t get excited about the gift. She didn’t ask for it. (And, yes, I know it’s socks…but they are cute socks.) So in the end, I decided we needed to give back to our community—to those other kids who have a real need in their lives. Toward that end, we (both my daughter and I) will be doing a good deed for another child for each of the subscription boxes that arrive in our mailbox. We are starting this month by creating packages for Comfort Cases. This awesome charity makes packages that are given to children in the foster care system, ensuring that when they arrive at their new foster home they at least have the basics they need to be comfortable for their first day. It’s a small gesture but one I hope will instill in her (and remind me) of all the need in the world and all we have to be thankful for.
A few days after she received the package from “the Sock Fairy”, my daughter pulled on one of the pairs of socks. “I love these socks,” she declared. “Thanks, Mom, I know you sent them. I appreciate it.”