Thursday, July 1, 2010

No Silver Spoons for the Love Birds

Uka and I are both products of private high schools and colleges. We're also scholarship recipients at all the institutions we've attended. We've talked about the similarities and differences we experienced at our respective schools, but one thing remained constant: we totally didn't identify with the silver spoon phenomenon we witnessed in many of our peers. 

Now had we each been born into upper class, wealthy families I'm sure we wouldn't have complained, but having to pull our own weight at times by either doing summer jobs, achieving academically for merit scholarships or excelling athletically (see Uka's high school article below), we believe that this has made us value our educational experiences much more.

Sure, I was jealous to see schoolmates whose mommies and daddies paid for their spring break jaunts to the Caribbean or upon turning 16 were given a brand new SUV, but the responsibility I felt for my own little Ford Festiva (she was named Frida, see below) knowing I was making my monthly payments made me very proud. 

We always talk about how we want to do better than our parents, but that doesn't always mean giving our children materially more than we were given. This is a topic Uka and I discuss often. If we have the means to buy our children a new car, then why not? If we can afford the six-figures to send our children to our alma maters then why deny them that privilege? I definitely want my children to experience more than I did as a child; to be able to go overseas at a young age, to play more than one instrument, to go to summer camp every year - but I want to balance that with a sense of responsibility and integrity. 

I want my children to have ownership and an understanding of the blessings they are given and work hard. I expect my children to have summer jobs and I expect them to help around the house WITHOUT an allowance. I'm not even sure that I want my children to know what an allowance is, but I do want to teach them the value of money at a young age. 

I want my children to have a sense of community; to know where they're from and to volunteer from a young age. There are ways of giving our children more than just tangible goods.

As I think about raising Baby Agbai in New York City and recognizing that this is perhaps one of the most materialistic cities in the world, I get nervous with all the privileged peers she'll grow up with. But if I think about it, we're all privileged in our own way. I'll try my best to instill this in her from a young age and then I can't wait to high tail it outta here!!! Just kidding! Seriously, though, it definitely will be tough raising a child here, but I feel confident in mine and Uka's ability to do so.

Love Birds unite!