When I came to America from Serbia to work as an au pair for a family it was a difficult adjustment. There was a language barrier. I was not used to the American diet. I didn't own enough modern clothes. But, the hardest adjustment is the lavish lifestyle of many material possessions, yet ungrateful children that always want more.
The American family that hired me lives in a large home with more toys than I have ever seen in one place. Their closets are filled with clothes, some they have never worn before outgrowing the outfits. The kids have more possessions than I could dream, yet they want more.
The hardest adjustment to American culture was the children are so ungrateful. Having to listen to the privileged kids whine and complain, when they have so much, is very difficult for me. They always compare themselves to each other and then to their friends. They think all other kids have it better than they do.
That is why I was pleasantly surprised when the parents read this article I am posting here today, and told me they decided to give less gifts for Christmas this year and try to focus more on their religion and traditions of their Christmas.
Don't worry, the kids still have dozens of gifts each, I don't think they will even notice there are less gifts.
Please don't misunderstand my intentions. I am thankful the family opened their hearts, home, and minds and invited me into their home. I do love the children.
The one thing I hope they learn from me is that material possessions aren't as important as spirituality. I hope Americans children learn giving is as important as receiving. I urge American parents to realize how fortunate they are and pass that gratefulness to their children.
Are you spending the holidays with your family or your host family?