Walter’s Take On It All

I was telling Walter about my blog posting re. our indecision on whether to push ahead with a second child or not and how some of the comments made were almost hurtful & offensive in away, I felt that my morals and values were being questioned and judged because I wanted only the best for my child. His response was one I had not thought about, he reminded me of how he grew up and of how he would never want that for Ava.

While I grew up privileged, and would just like to add that children who grow up this way will often also have good values and morals and life skills, at least I consider myself to be a person of high moral standing, with good values and great life skills, Walter had the completely opposite experience and yet we share the same standards and morals.

I had a life of luxury, of privilege, of stability, I attended one school, from junior all the way through to matric, I went on numerous overseas holidays and got to see and experience the world, I was given a car for my 18th birthday, my parents are still happily married today, almost 42 years later, I had wonderful examples of good, moral, just and upstanding citizens in both my parents. Walters Mom was 17 when she gave birth to him, his parents divorced when he was very young, he’s been the man in the house of a single mother from the time he was a young boy, he has had to move schools on numerous occasions,  has had to work for extra money from a young age to help with household responsibilities, has had to quit his studies and go into the work force with no tertiary education to try to help out. He could never enjoy any of the things his friends enjoyed because of the financial constraints of his family’s situation. The effects of his childhood and of having to “go without” have been far-reaching. He managed to claw his way out of that situation, but it was hard. Growing up a teenager under those circumstances was hard for him. It is not something he remembers fondly.

We both agree, we do not choose the hard path for Ava. We choose a life of opportunity for her and while we choose those things, there is still no reason why she cannot be raised learning good life skills, good values and good morals.

Walter is a perfect example of a parent striving to ensure his child has better (again, this is not just based on material things but abstract things as well) than he ever did and I think that’s wonderful, I think that makes him a responsible, thoughtful and loving parent.

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  • Reply tan32

    Hugs Sharon

    You’re doing what’s best for your family and nobody should make you feel bad for doing that. You’re being practical and rational and I feel that’s the best you can do by Ava.

    If she doesn’t have a sibling she will have friends. So in my opinion I think you’re doing a great job.


    May 23, 2010 at 9:46 pm
  • Reply lea2109

    I started typing up a comment, but it ended up so very long. So I deleted it and started again.

    All I want to say is this: I can relate to how W grew up because in many respects that is how I grew up. I grew up really poor, my mum was a single mum (my dad passed away a week before I turned 9), we never had a lot. But we had a great relationship. We learned to stand on our feet, my mum worked hard to teach us good morals and values and whilst it was very hard growing up, I will forever be grateful for what I learned as a child.

    My first high school up to Std 9 was a school with an excellent educational standard. Not private, but it was expensive and my gran often had to help my mum out, but the kids in this school were all pretty well-off. Most had parents who were doctors and lawyers (we were poor and my mum was a bank teller) and they lived a wealthy life with everything their hearts desired. The holidays, the clothes, the pocket money, whatever they wanted they got. And there were kids whose measurement of success was what you had and didn’t have and if you didn’t have then you were a nothing. Some kids were disrespectful, snobbish, showed no compassion. There were also kids who treated others equally, with respect and with compassion. When I was in Std. 9 we moved to Newcastle where most people worked at Iscor so my school was poorer. And even though the kids were not in the same well-off position as at my first school, there were also kids who treated others in a disrespectful manner, with no compassion and didn’t like following the rules. But there were also kids who treated others with the utmost respect and with compassion.

    Sharon, I fully agree with you that it doesn’t matter what your background is. I have seen both well-off and poorer and can honestly say that in both environments there were kids who had good values and kids who didn’t have any good values at all. What will make Ava the person she is and what will shape her is what you will teach her as she grows up.

    You are in the fortunate position where you might have more to offer Ava in terms of material things and you are able to financially afford excellent opportunities, so don’t let others put you down for that. You and W work hard for what you have and there will always be others who will have less and possibly feel jealous that you are in this position. You shouldn’t feel that you need to justify your decisions. They are your decisions. Ava is your daughter and only you will know what is best for her and if others don’t agree, just ignore them. Don’t let them make you feel hurt for the decisions you make.

    Sorry, this one ended up a bit long too.

    May 24, 2010 at 12:14 am
  • Reply niseysmusings

    my dh also grew up poor. he looks back at his childhood as a time of struggle and adversity. yes, he has strong morals and values but he didn’t get those from his family who had a poor work ethic and dubious moral values. he became the person he is today because of the affluent, moral life he saw in his best friends family who took him under their wing and taught him how to live a life to be proud of – financially, yes but most importantly morally. today he still turns to them over his own family as a moral measure.

    being poor doesn’t necesarily make you a good person. it just makes lifes lessons harder. being financially able doesn’t necesarily make you a good person, or a bad person but it does make lifes knocks a little easier. life is hard enough without the added burden of financial stress – all us IF veteran are able to vouch for that!

    whether you choose to give ava a life of material benefit is irrelevant to how she will turn out as a person, you and W will always pass on your morals and values to her. what you are choosing for her is a life with, hopefully, one less stress.

    May 24, 2010 at 6:42 am
  • Reply trishdg

    So this post just proves you and Walter are great parents. You have looked at what kind of childhood you each had and what you want to try and duplicate, change and improve on – your decisions may be different than others but thats fine because you are Ava’s parents and you know what is best for her and your family. It is natural for parents to want to give their children a childhood that is better than their own – emotionally and financially.
    I completely agree that giving children opportunities does not preclude them from growing up with great morals and values.

    PS I have a brother (16 months younger) that I hardly ever speak to and never see as he lives halfway around the world. We have never been close or companions, no animosity or drama, just not people that would ever choose to be friends/related. I honestly don’t think my life would be any different if I had been an only child.

    May 24, 2010 at 10:25 am
  • Reply samcy

    At the end of the day it’s yours and W’s decision what you do and how you do it.

    Stop worrying about what others think.

    Ava will be a wonderful girl no matter what you decide.


    May 24, 2010 at 12:03 pm
  • Reply bratty37

    Hi Sharon, I grew up very poor…my Mom was a single mom from when I was 3.5 years old. I had two older sisters and one older brother. I do not regret how I grew up… Mom always taught us to hold our heads up high…cause our dignity was something no-one could take away, no matter how poor we were.
    Having said that, I also want to give our child everything I did not have…I want that car at 18 years, I want that University degree paid for, I want the Disney trip….I want those private schools
    So regardless of how we were brought us…times have changed. Life is alot harder and it takes more from the parents to help a child succeed.
    I think you and W are making good decisions regarding the future of little Ava…

    May 24, 2010 at 2:04 pm
  • Reply charnetrollip

    its your decision and just cause she will lead a priveliged life wont mean she does not know right from wrong… its the way you will teach her morals that will make her a wonderful little girl that is forunate to have the privelages in life…

    yours and walters decision and you should not have to explain it to anyone


    May 24, 2010 at 4:27 pm
  • Reply skrambled

    I think that you should go with what your heart tells you. No matter what, I can’t imagine that you and W would give anything less than your best!

    May 24, 2010 at 5:41 pm
  • Reply hanneke001

    I also think that it is your decision to make, if you are happy with it, there is nothing wrong with wanting to give your child the best in life. We all strive to do that!

    You do not have to account for your decisions to anyone, she is your child and it is your decision to make.

    She has wonderfull parents and will be a precious young girl !!!!!!!!

    May 24, 2010 at 8:51 pm
  • Reply anynamesavailable

    if Ava is an only child people will always ask you why you didnt have another one, and even that its not fair to Ava..yaddah yaddah, well thats mostly what I get and people are sometimes shocked that we actually do want just one child , specifically so that we can give him a step up and help him through life. What Im trying to say is that no matter what you decide people are always going to have an opinion different to your own, you have to have such a thick skin being a parent!!

    May 24, 2010 at 10:46 pm
  • Reply hcouperus

    It’s your decision. Us mothers (and fathers!) want the best for our children. Our(as in the world not you and I) priorities might be different and that’s OK. For us personally the most important thing for our girls is that their heart is right ie that they become Christians. Of course we give them what they need financially and emotionally but the most important is the heart. In NZ the ‘current parenting fad’ is child centered parenting which is the message from the goverment, it is in schools, kindy’s, Plunket etc. So we are the ‘odd’ one out. I’ve learned to keep my opinions to my self and let my children’s behavouir and our marriage speak for its self! Time will tell :). (PS I get hurtful comments all the time, poor you with all those kids, are you going to try for a boy(having four girls)?, are you going to have anymore (from strangers!)? My standard answer now is that those are my blessings!!)

    May 25, 2010 at 1:56 am
  • Reply vroutjie

    Hi Shaz,

    I think bugger everyone else! You have to do what you think is right and everybody has their own ideas and opinions. You know what is the best for your family and go with that!!

    I am sometimes very opinionated and sometimes people don’t like what I say, but that is also their problem not mine – if they don’t like my opinion – I accept that, but some people cannot deal with people having a diffirent opinion that theirs.

    Enjoy your child and make the decisions that you feel is right!!

    May 25, 2010 at 11:47 am
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