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8.13.2012

A lesson in spoilage


For a while, whenever Tio felt he wasn’t getting what he wanted, he’d say, “When I have kids, I’m going to spoil them rotten. I’ll let them have whatever they want.”

“Good for you,” I always reply. “You’ll get you deserve because they’ll hate you for it.”

“Why would they hate me if I give them what they want?”

“Because it’s human nature. If you give them everything, what do they need you for? They don’t need to like, respect, or care less about you. And they won’t.”

“Not my kids,” he’d insist.

The boys were away this past weekend visiting their aunt, uncle and 2 cousins in another part of the state. I don’t personally know the family at all except to have met the parents a few times over the years.

When they came home, Tio came into my shop and said to me, “I change my mind. I don’t want to spoil my kids anymore.”

“Why not?” I asked.

“My cousins are spoiled sick and they treat their parents like crap. You wouldn’t believe how they talk to them!” He was really upset. “They call them names, swear at them and they have everything in the world.”

“It’s human nature,” I repeated. “Moderation is a learned trait. Kids don’t understand it and need limits. Spoiling them is the worst thing you can do.”

“I see that now.” This morning he got up, did his chores first thing, asked about his studies before he asked about going out. I guess something woke him up to the balance in his life.