I did so much for the boys and I thought I was being really good to them but I reinforced something their dad was adept at: selfishness. I never mentioned it before because I'm an adult and I shouldn't whine about forgotten birthdays, but then again I celebrated three birthdays with small gifts but kindnesses and not only was there no goodbye dinner, or card, or any of the things my good friends do, but no birthday card either. However to be clear, they also would have forgotten their dad's birthday and done absolutely nothing had I not been around to push them.
Kids are not exactly to blame for such things. They are kids after all and tend to forget about things like birthdays or little thank yous. Often, just being around them is reward enough because there is just something about children to us adults. However, whether you are a parent, relative, or family friend, I believe that it is possible to do children disservice by not teaching them to reciprocate. Just as the youngest of kids must be taught to share, they must also be taught to care.
I'll also add a caveat because kids are very good at saying thank you in the moment, because they are thinking about it and it's easy. True care has scope beyond a moment, and impulse. Very few children are born knowing this.
Anyway, they know I have not forgotten them because words are free and the cost of a stamp is negligible, but even that cannot go on forever un-reciprocated.
Mariel R. is an ESL teacher, horse trainer, writer, editor, sporadic blogger, and lover of beer. She lives in South Korea with two cats, three horses, a German Shepherd and 17 chickens.
Bear (Gom in Korean) then (above) now (below)
Geumbi (Goldy in English) R.I.P February, 23, 2018