Recently, I sat to watch a program on TV. It was about a young couple who discovered that they had triplets on the way.

This was not particularly good news for them because financially, they were just managing to keep their heads above water. Therefore, all they had wanted and planned for was one child. Like seriously, having twins would have meant pushing it but triplets? That was way, way overboard anything they felt they could comfortably manage.

Anyway, they had no choice but to accept the news and begin to work out a way to meet their impending financial demands. You know, instead of one, they would need three sets of every single item. Phew!!!

Now, in the beginning, the wife was very supportive of the fact that they will need to ‘manage’. However, after having a ‘heart-to-heart’ with her ‘rich’ mom, she began to have different ideas. For example, their house was suddenly not going to be big enough to accommodate the new ‘additions’.

Okay, let’s get real – Obviously, it would have been great to have a bigger house with more space. However, considering their financial state, a bigger house was impractical. What would have made sense would have been for them to make the most of their present space and then work towards getting something bigger, as time went along. However, with the wife been so sad and gloomy about matters, the hardworking husband felt ‘pushed’. He felt pushed to go and look for money in places where he shouldn’t have. He felt pressurized to acquire a much bigger house he couldn’t afford
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Okay, what’s my point with this story? Raising children, whether a single child or triplets, is very expensive. Actually, raising children is a very expensive ‘project’, especially in an economy like Nigeria where the salaries refuse to go up irrespective of the fact that the prices of stuffs are constantly on the rise.

Therefore, there may be times when we cannot afford to give our children all that we would love them to have. You know, after working really hard, and providing them with the essentials, it is very possible that you are unable to give them the ‘extras’ you believe they also ‘deserve’.

In such a situation, what do you do? Introduce your children to the fake life where they live above their means? Or tell them the truth? I actually know of a family where the adult-children are right now out-of-touch with reality because growing up, their parents were constantly indulging them in things they couldn’t afford.

Now, I am not saying that because the economy is hard, your children should be constantly denied the finer things of life. I believe in sacrificing to put that smile on their faces. However, at the same time, I also believe in being real with them. Okay, this does not mean you start frightening them with tales of woe about the financial world. On the contrary, what you do is break down the truth in a language they understand.

For example, if I don’t ‘have’, I am not ashamed to explain to my four-year old that mommy does not have. Then, if after our talk, she sights me holding money, she may say something like, ‘But mommy isn’t that money in your bag?’ I then go on to explain to her that we have to prioritize and use that particular money for food stuffs or whatever need may be important at that time. Or, if the money she is referring to is spare change like N50, I let her know that there is very little we can do with it.

I also encourage her to pray that Jesus gives mommy and daddy money. So, whenever she wants to get restless in church, I remind her there are ‘things’ to pray for. Whenever I don’t have enough, I also tease her that she has not been praying for me. She will then assure me that she will change her ways.

In addition to praying, I also let her know that when mommy and daddy are working, they are doing so to make money. She is also assured that when the money does come in, she will be one of the beneficiaries.

Bottom line, I feel compelled to sacrifice for my kids but I don’t feel compelled to steal on their behalf, no matter how much they whine. For crying out loud, I am not going to give myself hypertension over the fact that I couldn’t take them abroad for the summer holidays. Or that I didn’t throw them a grander birthday party. My principle is that while we work for ‘more’, we will also make the most of the ‘little’ we have.

Let me end by saying that good enough, I realize that these little ones are, at the end of the day, so easy to please. For example, when I sometimes try to buy the more expensive biscuit for my daugher, in her innocence she may insist on her N15 biscuit. Or sometimes, when you think you are doing the child a favour by buying that really expensive dress, you realize that she prefers the cheaper one. So really, at the end of the day, we, parents should also check ourselves. Are we really doing it for the kids? Or, do we sometimes do it for ourselves (our image) and in the process, teach our children discontent?

*- When mixed with Love, even the ‘Little’ you give will look like ‘Much’- *

Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net