Oooh, I found a new buzz word. Not like it's a new word, but one that I'm really liking. Counter-culture.
I love sociology. I wish I would have grown up to be a sociologist. It was by far one of my favorite classes in college.
A lot of people use this term when discussing religion. "I'm raising my children counter-culturally (strong, god-fearing Christians)." I'm actually going to take a different spin on it.
Without realizing it, I raised Bubba counter-culturally. Not completely of course, but to a very strong degree. Of course the reason he was raised in that fashion really wasn't intentional ~ because he was born to me at a young age, I couldn't give him every single thing he wanted at the exact moment he wanted it. I had to be creative in that vein.
Raising your children counter-culturally to me means against the norms. Just because every friend has a cell phone at 8, an iPad by 10 and a brand new car in the driveway by 16 does NOT mean that you are going to be getting them. And this time it does not mean I can't afford it! I'm choosing to raise little guy with a tad more awareness of those things that are truly important in life: family, health, love, friendship and life experiences (in no particular order). Material objects are simply not that important. Wearing the right kind of jeans, shoes, brands... just not that big of a deal.
It's working! Yesterday after work I treated him to a frozen yogurt, which we rarely ever do (which is why it was a treat!) As we sat and talked about our day, we commented on how lucky we were to have such beautiful weather. We decided to take a walk around the shopping area to walk off our calories (I love this boy). We came upon a shoe store and he was definitely in need of new shoes... his favorite shoes were totally worn out. We entered the building and without saying a word, he walked straight to the back of the store to the clearance rack. I didn't ask him to, I didn't lead him there... he went all on his own. He scoured the rack on both sides and came upon a great pair of Reeboks, of course not the brand new style but still pretty kickin'. They just so happen to be a pair of 10s. "Hey mom, would you mind if I try these on to see if I like them?" "You bet, Coop... let's grab one of the salesmen." He tried them on. Perfect fit.
His next words were awesome to me. "Mom, I really like these shoes. My shoes are pretty worn out but I think I could go a few more months on them. Do you think we could make a plan to come back and buy these shoes?" My mouth almost fell to the floor.
"Son, let's grab them today. They are on sale and might not be here when we are ready to come back. That was very good planning on your part though ~ if we did not have the money we might have had to do that."
He was ECSTATIC. He didn't even notice the cool $150 shoes in the window. We paid $30 for his cool new shoes and out the door we went with the biggest smile I think I have seen on his face in awhile.
Simple, but definitely counter-cultural. His friends may not like his shoes. They may pick on him for not wearing the "coolest" shoes available. But he doesn't care. He didn't buy his shoes to fit in, to feel cool, to make people accept him. He bought shoes because he NEEDED them.
I'm FAR from perfect by any stretch. My kids certainly aren't perfect. But both of them understand the true value of need versus want. Bubba is a bit more impulsive (like me) than his little brother but luckily he married an extremely grounded woman that will keep that in check.
I implore you to consider this concept. How often do you give in to the pressures of fitting in? Is it important to give our kids everything they ever ask for or want to help them "fit in"? How awesome would it be to raise them to be confident in their own life paths and not concerned about what other's think?
I think this is particularly hard for girls. Girls can be so mean. I have always said the best gift you can give your daughter is courage. Courage to stand up, to say yes to what THEY believe, to not follow the crowd, no matter what. To be a leader. It's not easy - girls can be insecure, they can be a bit fearful when it comes to relations with others. But I know this to be certain: I have a ton extremely strong, powerful women friends that are raising daughters. They have all the ammunition they need to pass along to their daughters. They just have to agree to be a bit brave themselves and say no to their girls when they head down that peer pressured path.
Food for thought. Have a great hump day, friends!