Sunday, December 07, 2008

An Observation

Yesterday morning, Aaron, Grace, and I attended a breakfast with Santa/book fair event that took place at Grace's school. We had a blast enjoying our all-you-can-eat stacks of pancakes and browsing around at the book fair and Grace even gathered up all of her courage to sit next to Santa (no way would she sit on his lap) to tell him what she wanted for Christmas. It was a fun morning and we all considered it time well-spent.

One part of the morning made me wrinkle my nose in disgust, though. As we were getting ready to purchase a couple of books at the book fair, I noticed a family next to us who seemed to be engaged in some sort of conflict. The children, who were maybe a year or two older than Grace, were asking their parents if they could purchase a book--just one. The parents were adamantly telling their children that no, they could not buy a book because the books were too expensive and that if they kept asking for a book, they were going to get in trouble. (By the way, one of the kids was holding the same book that I allowed Grace to purchase--the price on the book was $3.99).

Now, I am not one to spoil my child by allowing her to pick out and buy whatever she wants to at the store. I definitely find myself saying, "No," far more than I give in and buy Grace something she might not necessarily need. The thing that got under my skin about this family was that the two parents, as they were denying their children one book each, were sipping from their Venti-sized Starbucks take out cups. I love my Starbucks as much as the next gal, and I really don't like judging other parents because I know how hard parenting is, but if I found myself in a situation where I couldn't buy Grace a book for less than $4, I sure as heck wouldn't be spending $5 on a coffee. And, if I had a choice between the coffee and a book for Grace, you can bet your boots I'd choose the book for Grace.

I don't know--the whole thing just bothered me. The intent of the book fair, in addition to helping kids add to their home libraries, was to raise funds for the school, and that's definitely a good cause in my book. And if any child is showing interest in reading, even if they want to look at a simple picture book, shouldn't that interest be encouraged? Shouldn't we as parents be showing our kids that reading is more important than getting that daily caffeine fix?