Resurrection of a deity? $30.00.

Three years ago, my then-new wife and I took in my 8-year-old grandson. His father, my son, had a great number of personal problems that he is still working his way through.

When we got the boy he was, to put it kindly, rag tag. He had nothing but a bag of clothes and gum disease. He was an insecure kid who was thankful for every crumb you gave him, be it attention or material.

Now, just 3 short years later, he is a typical, indolent spoiled American kid. If you offer to buy him something, he wants it “super-sized”. Ask him if he wants to go get a coke and he’ll say, “Can I have an ice cream too?” Ask him if he wants a toy and he wants two. In point of fact, he has more money most of the time than things to want. He goes to the store looking for something that will cost all the money in his pocket. Don’t get me wrong, I love him dearly and admit my part in his transformation, BUT…

His first Christmas my wife bought him a video game console and my mother-in-law gave him a TV for his room. He also, of course, got an entire wardrobe and everything he had asked for. By his third Christmas it was difficult to find something he didn’t have, which leads me to Easter.

I noticed, on his first Easter with us, the habit of my mother-in-law to lavish gifts on her other grandchild and asked that the whole gift-giving thing be kept under control – eggs, baskets and maybe a little candy seemed sufficient to me. We don’t really need another holiday where we lavish gifts on our children; at least that’s what I think.

You would not believe the 3 day argument I had with my wife and mother-in-law! In the end, his grandmother took me aside and said, “Now don’t be mad…”. She had done exactly as she wanted (and exactly as I had asked her NOT to do) and he had a ton of loot. Of course it was not a pretty holiday.

Which leads me to this year, and the title of this piece. This year my wife and grandson went to grandma’s without me. Because of personal issues of her own, his grandmother was unable to shop for him. When they arrived home he quickly announced that he had $30.00. I asked, in front of wife and grandma, where he got 30 dollars. I asked 3 times and never got an answer. After grandma was gone I found out she had given him 25 and his uncle had kicked in another 5. When I confronted my wife, her best argument was that everyone does it – and that I should tell grandma, not her…and that she thought it was ok (she gave him a tennis racket and a can of balls).

Now I realize I am more sore about putting my foot down and having it stepped on than about the sorry state of spoiled American kids but I’ll work through that myself. What I want to know is, am I wrong? Should I give this boy more than he needs or even wants because everyone else is doing it?

Not that I seem to be able to stop it, of course…


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