Everything I Really Need To Know...I Learned From Sharing a McDonald's Happy Meal

The other day, I was talking to a friend of mine and she said, "You know, our kids are spoiled." I suppose my face must have registered shock, because she repeated her statement with a little more force this time (along with facial expressions)..."Barbara, now you know your kids are spoiled." I sort of disagreed with this statement. I thought to myself...that depends on what your definition of "spoiled" is. Did my kids have more than I did growing up? Heck yea! I didn't even have cable T.V. ; didn't know it existed (we got a local channel clearly and another one that was fuzzy with rabbit ears...don't know what rabbit ears are? You're young; ask your parents!) However, when one discusses the possibility of an individual being "spoiled", the word MUST be defined.

Let me first begin by saying that although we were not wealthy, we were always happy and content with where we were in life at any given time. From our first home, a low income apartment, to a mobile home and then on to various houses over the years, we enjoyed life as a growing family.

My children wore hand-me-downs and I shopped the sales to purchase new items and even sewed a lot of their clothes when they were young. When I took them with me on shopping outings, they did not scream and stomp their feet for a new toy because we just never started that "buying a prize" if you're good thing...not only because we couldn't afford it, but why does a kid NEED a new toy every time they enter a store? AND "reward" them for being well-behaved?!? Their reward was not getting a spanking (I know...many of you new parents may not agree with this, but remember we were "old school". And if there were any kids that needed a spanking...it was mine!)

We didn't have a problem with childhood obesity (or adult obesity for that matter). That was due to the fact that we didn't eat much red meat...not because we didn't like it or were doing it for health concerns; it cost more. I told someone one day that when chickens would go on sale at the grocery store, we would stock up. And by stocking up, I mean at one point our whole freezer was full of chickens! And I knew how to make almost every chicken dish known to mankind. Exercise was not a problem either. The kids got theirs from running around outside all day, while I got mine from chasing after them.

But the thing my oldest son said one day was one of the best examples of living "tightly" amidst a large family. The kids had to share almost everything...clothes, rooms and even food. From time to time, I would take all four of them to McDonald's before Wednesday night church activities. It was a great place to go on Wednesdays for more than one reason; it was next door to the church and it had a playground. The order for dinner was always the same...2 kids meals and a couple extra small drinks. I would then proceed to cut the hamburgers in half and give each child their portion, along with dividing the kid meal size fries into four equal portions; they each got a drink. This became our routine when eating out during the middle of the week...UNTIL one day Justin (who was in elementary school at this time) asked, "Hey, Mom, when do you think I could have my own Happy Meal?" Well, it hadn't even occurred to me that a child his age perhaps would want (actually was hungry enough) to eat a WHOLE HAPPY MEAL. So, I decided at that point that maybe it was time to begin letting each child have their own! But up until this point there were really no complaints.

So, do I think that my kids are "spoiled"? It still goes back to defining the word. Yes, my children did more activities and owned more material items than I did growing up, but they were and have always been "sharers" and "carers". I taught them to think of others and not take things for granted. For me, the definition of "spoiled" would mean ruined or rotten (as in milk). So, I must say...speak for your own kids, Sista; cause I don't think mine fit that definition (But, I'm probably a little prejudice too!)

1 comment

  1. I always said, there's a difference in being spoiled and being a spoiled brat! ;)