June 21, 2010

How Sad...

For his birthday, my folks gave Samuel this model to build. I wish I had taken a picture of the kit to show you what it looked like.  It was about the size of an 8X10 sheet of paper but made out of some very thin wood.  Their were a million little pieces  all attached to the wooden frame.  Ideally, you were supposed to punch the pieces out and then they would slide together to make this Ferrari you see in the picture. 

Except that... the pieces wouldn't come out of the frame.  They weren't cut all the way through and no matter how we tried to remove them with razor knife, fingers or butter knife they wouldn't come out except those that broke in the process.  As we were trying to get the pieces out, Brianna was trying to glue the broken pieces back together. 

And if that wasn't bad enough, read these instructions...

I don't know about a six year old, but this college educated grown woman and my two grown daughters couldn't figure it out.  I ended up so frustrated, that I THREW IT IN THE TRASH and told Samuel I would buy him any model he wanted if he didn't insist we spend one more minute on that.

How sad could it be for five year old Sam to be so excited about his birthday present and then have it so poorly and cheaply made it must go in the trash? 

I hate to sound ungrateful but I have seen this happen far too often in my 18 years of birthdays and Christmases as a parent.  When people ask what would the children like for such and such.  We tell them one of two things.  He'd really like to do this or that with you.  The girls have always wished to just spend some time with their grandmother's baking or sewing.  Yet, no matter how many times I've said that over the years, not once has anyone taken me seriously. 

Or we tell them something the child would really like or need.  For a year, when Nathaniel was about five he wanted a new pair of galoshes.  Both sets of grandparents asked me what he would like and I shared this request.  Do you think they got him galoshes????  No.  They are inexpensive and easy to come by.  Finally, his Aunt got him a pair for his birthday.  You would have thought he was a miner finding gold.  For the last three years he has happily crammed his too big feet into those rain boots every time a storm left some promising puddles.  Now that was a gift he enjoyed. Even when they finally fell apart from serious wear and we had to throw them away, he still remembered the giver and that birthday with fondness.

And yet, people seldom take my advice.  Instead the kids end up with piles of things that they don't care about or things like this that which quickly break and end up in the trash.  Note to those giving gifts to children.  Instead of giving them something they won't be able to enjoy, offer to help them with a hobby or teach them something new instead.  Take them out for ice cream or read a book with them.  It'll last much longer than these disappointing widgets imported from China and you will be investing in your relationship with someone who looks up to you.  Tying heart strings that will last a lifetime.

Yes, if you ask me, forget China and watch a video together instead.   


  1. Thank you so much for your prayers, encouragement, and support.

  2. I totally understand what you mean about gifts. My kids' favorite gifts are often the simplest things. Both loves their galoshes too.

  3. It's too bad more folks didn't take your advice. Perhaps they may be thinking will the kids want "things" or to spend time with family doing things. Too often our society is focused on the material things and not the quality of life things. Nice "sad" post :)

  4. Forgot to mention that my hubby just started a blog of his own. It's called D'jaho http://djaho.blogspot.com/ you can link to it from my blog. He would really love a visit from you and perhaps be his second follower???? Your visit would be appreciated!! Blessings to you~ Amy

  5. My son, 10, received one of those puzzles too. He was able to get all the pieces out, but it ended up in a pile on the window sill because the pieces he COULD fingure out how to stick together wouldnt stay long enough to put another piece on or wouldnt go together at all because the slot spacing was incorrect. Eventually I scooped it all into the trash.

    His favorite present of all times?? A toy guitar when he was 3. He rocked out with the Wiggles and Bob the Builder for months!

  6. I agree! My children have a present they still discuss. One year for Christmas each child received 3 coupons good for one "date" with Papa and Mimi! They planned and planned before choosing what they wanted to do on their "dates" and made those three dates last all year long! They still have the coupons as a memory.

  7. Kat,

    I am so glad that you posted this because you truly do touch on what most parents get frustrated with. Why ask if you aren't going to purchase something based on our recommendations? Too often I get that same frustration with all the holidays and birthday and now we simply tell them gift cards to places like Target or Toys R Us. It makes the selection process much easier to deal with and they can even save them to buy something bigger later.

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat

  8. Oh I hear you! We are currently a family of 7 with only two functioning bedrooms and 1 small living space that is a combined lounge/dining/kitchen. We have chosen the adventure of the "renovator's delight" but do NOT have room for STUFF. For some reason, there are well meaning family members who still insist of giving my children ORNAMENTS!!! I ask you... My son's favourite birthday presents this year were a soccar ball and a set of wooden puzzles that came in their own handy box.