How much luxury should a parent allow his/her child? I ask this because I've seen students of ours who have very expensive cellphones, sometimes even having two. I don't know why they need to have two but they do. Maybe one for texting, another, (Sun) for calling.
I am not writing this to criticize parents who have the luxury of buying their children the latest cellphone and whatever technological gadget there is. How one raises his/her child(ren) is entirely up to himself/herself. Noone has the right formula in rearing kids. I know I don't. I am writing this because as always, I want to share my thoughts with my children and their children's children on what I think and what guidelines I follow in life.
One of my daughters wanted to buy a new cellphone. (I know she'd hate me for sharing this. She even dreads her coming birthday knowing I'd be writing about her. :-)) She knew I wouldn't give her money so she's using her own. Her godmother arrived from the States and since they haven't seen each other for a long time, decided to give her cash. Now, adding to that amount her own savings, she, indeed, can buy a second-hand phone.
My wife was okay with it. However, when given the chance, since my daughter never mentioned it to me, I told her I have reservations about her purchasing another cellphone. What for? It's not that it's a necessity. More than anything else, it is merely a status symbol. And because it is, you have to flaunt it. Always keep it visible to let everyone know you have an expensive phone. Otherwise, why need one if you just keep it in your pocket, right? Remember, its a status symbol. If yor phone is not visible, ergo, you don't have your status? Now, when did that ever become a virtue? You are just inviting pickpockets and probably endangering your life that way. When everybody else appears to be living in abject poverty, I think, it is a sin to flaunt your material possessions.
One of my apprehensions in having my kids study in a school where there are plenty of rich kids is that my children may get their penchant for material things. My wife and I have always been simple people. My kids know that. They know that while we do not live in dire straits, we only have enough for our needs. Maybe give in to a few luxury here and there but that would be on a very lucky day. i have been using the same cellphone for years. I fear of accidentally leaving it on the restaurant not because it might get stolen, but because the waiter might think its trash and throw it down the toilet in disgust. My wife only had her cellphone just recently because she "inherited" my eldest daughter's. My eldest daughter is now in college and without me knowing it, bought her own brand new cellphone from her own pocket.
Back to having expensive cellphones. Maybe these teen agers think its part of the packaging these days. Mabye that comes with wealth. If you have it, why deprive your child, right? Parents only want the very best for their children. However, I am of the impression that this not need to be so. I shall remain firm that if there's a need for a cellphone, all you need is a phone that works. That especially holds true if you're a student. If it's good for texting and you can use it to call somebody else, that's good enough. Maybe teeners believe that having a "neat" cellphone is part of a good packaging for oneself. But what it is to me is that the packaging of a student is not what he/she has but what is stored in her brain. Do all of the lessons stick to their heards? Do they make their assignments, give their projects in time, maintain a good grade? Do others perceive them to be good kids? Are they respectful? Are they aware of their roots? Are they sensitive to the issues that concern the common man? Are they sympathetic to those in need? Are they independent? For me, these are the ones that comprise the packaging of a good student. If my children can say yes to all these, then I shall be a happy parent.
In fairness to my obedient kid, she's passing on this one. She didn't buy the phone. I love her so much.