How to teach appreciation for what you have

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, March 23, 2016, 9:08 PM | comments: 0

Simon is getting a pretty incredible childhood. I mean, yeah, he's had a ton of attention from us, teachers and therapists so he can adapt around the ASD issues (with mostly phenomenal success, I would add), but I'm talking about quality of life. My kid gets to do a lot of stuff that most kids do not. He's been on eight cruises, and by now has been to Walt Disney World about a hundred times. We guess that he has flown at least 40,000 miles. He's six.

Keep in mind, I wouldn't consider him spoiled. He doesn't get to do whatever he wants, and we don't buy him stuff. To be fair, he doesn't really ask for stuff, but if he did, we wouldn't buy it for him. The only real misstep I think we've made is being too flexible about food. Other than that, I think he is generally not without limits. He isn't spoiled.

But he does get to do some pretty cool things that most kids do not. The Disney thing is partially a function of living so close. It would be weird to not buy access to it annually (as I hear the Magic Kingdom fireworks go off two miles from me). He doesn't seem to take it for granted. Heck, we've pulled him out of there for misbehavior. The issue I have is that I want him to appreciate how awesome it is that he gets to do this stuff. How do you teach humility for something like that? I don't want him to feel guilty or anything, I just want him to understand what he has. Perhaps this is something better understood for him at a later age.

Fortunately, he is a helper. He loves to help people with anything that he believes he can be successful at. My hope is that we can get him involved in charity work in his grade school years. I think that's a critical thing for him to learn, that solving problems requires action by people, regardless of scope, and that making that difference is one of the richest experiences we can have as human beings.

In the mean time, I hope we keep making good memories for him. I'm assuming of course that his memory will be a lot like mine (I probably remember too much of my childhood for my own well-being). He's had some challenges, but there's no shortage of fun in his life.


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