by Fatima Kazee, fulltime mum to Imaad (7), Zayn(5) and Zahreen (3) and part-time wife to fisherman husband Aadil. She’s addicted to sneakers anything chocolatey and is an invaluable part of the Jozikids and Kznkids team.
Ok, so don’t start reading this article thinking I have an answer here, because I don’t. This is just something I’ve noticed with my own kids. That they seem to not fully appreciate what privileges they have compared to most other South African children.
So it being school holidays right now, I’ve been trying to keep my kids busy by taking them places and finding things to do. Now I know that there are many things we could do together that won’t cost me anything, but let’s just be honest – anything that’s really exciting costs money. So while my eldest son was at a workshop at the University of Johannesburg (yes, that’s how he rolls at 7!) I took the other two to a child friendly restaurant. We ordered a chocolate milkshake for each of them while they played on the jungle gyms. When it arrived, they both decided that they’d rather have a strawberry milkshake and a blue slush. So in trying to keep everyone happy, I obliged and ordered that for them, and drank the 2 chocolate milkshakes myself (to show them that we don’t waste food). When the new order arrived, neither of them wanted it because somehow it was yurgg and wanted the chocolate milkshakes instead! I now decided to teach them a lesson and refused to buy what they wanted. Oh the tantrums that followed.
I tried calmly to explain that we can’t just keep changing our minds and that some kids didn’t even have those options in life. That some children go to school without breakfast or even a packed lunch and have to deal with being hungry all day. Obviously, trying to get a 5 year old and a 3 year old to understand that is almost impossible. The thought of Googling pictures of malnourished, starving kids crossed my mind but I decided that that may just be too harsh. Eventually, we left the restaurant to fetch the professor from university and all the way heard how they were hungry and needed those milkshakes as a matter of life and death.
Now I’m sure that Mia Von Scha has the perfect solution to all this, which will lead to an Aha! moment on my part. But right then and there, in the restaurant, in front of many people, I had no idea of how to avoid that situation. It’s the same with wanting sweets or toys when we’re in a mall. We don’t need those things because we have plenty at home.
How do I get my kids to understand the value of money and that everything costs something? That we can’t simply have everything we lay our eyes on or else I’d have a cupboard full of sneakers that I really don’t need and can’t possibly wear because some of them are just not practical. We’ve been to charitable functions and helped out, in our little way, to uplift the disadvantaged, as we can. We donate our clothes once we’ve outgrown them and often give beggars an apple or banana that we keep in the car for that reason.
I’m hoping to find a simple, clear, easy-to-do, non-tantrum-throwing solution to this problem.