Does Money = Love Then?
I was meant to write this post probably over a year ago but had totally forgotten about it till I came across a first draft. Although the introductory "A while ago" has now been changed to "Quite a while ago" it remains nonetheless a current post to write. I wrote it, though not in the heat of the moment, the same week that the episode in question happened, as far as I recall. I was pretty upset about the issue, although unnecessarily so I know, and to this day I would still like to give my take on the subject.
So, quite a while ago, I was in a supermarket when my son went up to an ageing man and excitedly showed him a new toy I had given him. The man's first words were, "See how much your mum loves you!" I know he meant it in a good way and was nice enough to listen to my child and talk to him, unlike some people who just brush him off. However, it is a pity that this person, and most of the rest of the Western World, tag love with gift-giving rather than what truly counts.
Would I have been a lesser mother had I not afforded to get my son something that was not really a need? I can understand that with love comes responsibility and I would never dream of, say, not getting my son something he needed for school or for health reasons. Even a mother who can't afford those things will go out of her way to find the means to give them to her children anyway. But to suggest to my son that my love for him is proportional to the number of toys and knick knacks I've bought him over the years is a mentality that many unconsciously adhere to and one which is, I hope, incorrect.
I cannot figure out how and why people connote the two (gifts and love) together. That would be like saying that no Third World mother loves her children enough for providing them with no expensive toys and gadgets, or that a father is less of a father if he provides payments on an apartment rather than a villa for his family.
I really think we should be getting our priorities straight. Yes, a better standard of living is always welcome if achievable and it is a joy to watch a child open a much-desired present at Christmas. However let us not mistake gifts for love or love for gift-giving as they are really, truly, unrelated.