When I was little kid, all you had to do to be cool was to be the kid with gum or be really good at not getting hit in the face during dodge ball or have really high level Pokémon. Ok, maybe that last one wouldn't make you cool but it was still impressive and we all secretly respected it. Nowadays, it's who has the newest iPhone or who has the fanciest whatever. Growing up, I knew better than to ask my mom for the newest everything. This foresight didn't come from the fear of what she would say, it came from the understanding that I needed to pay my dues.
My first phone was a dinky Virgin Mobile top-up phone. Not really the type of phone that drives the ladies wild. The only cool part about it was that my ringtone was Smooth Criminal. While I may have been jealous of the nicer phone my sister had, I understood the situation. She was my older sister and she had already paid her dues.
By learning at a young age the concept of paying one's dues, it helped me later in life. It granted me patience to deal with sometimes unfair situations and it effected in me an even temperament.
As a kid, I was also forced to learn the true value of a dollar. Unlike so many of the little youngins I see today, I didn't really have money to throw around. I earned a measly amount every week for doing a mountain of chores while my sister earned more for what seemed to me like doing an anthill. However, she had earned that privilege when she was in my shoes. Yet, it seems like many younger kids have even more money than I do now. To be honest, it actually irritates me greatly. Just last week I was waiting on line somewhere and some brat was counting his Benjamins out loud. When I reached in my pocket all I found was like 20 bucks and some pocket lint.
Please, if any parents are reading this, make your kids pay their dues. And no, this is not me being jealous of all your little brat's bling. This is me worrying about what's going to happen to these kids who've never paid their dues when they get to the real world. Everything isn't going to just fall from the sky and into their lap. They'll have to work for it. I completely understand wanting to give your family the best but that doesn't mean you should just give it to them. Your kid wants the new iPhone? Make 'em earn it.
I know my parents made me pay my dues for everything and I may have hated it at the time but when I look back, I'm grateful. All those years of earning the things I wanted molded me into a somewhat respectable member of the community... at least I think so.