This week I ventured to Orly airport with my daughter. She was off on a language exchange trip to Salamanca. It was an exciting opportunity for her and although it was expensive for me, (I am still paying it off,) I was thrilled to giver her the opportunity.
On top of the extortionate price of this trip, I gave her 100 euros for a weeks stay. On the first day, I got a bbm message from her stating that this was the best trip ever and thank you. A day later she sent me a bbm picture of some ballerina shoes that only cost 10 euros with the question, can I buy them? I teased her and obviously said, ‘yes!’ It seemed to meet that the trip was not a language trip but a glorified shopping trip but that does not matter. It is the experience that matters and the memories. Additionally, trips like this will provide dreams for her future and help her find her way. I really do believe that the value of these trips is not in the education but in the development of once independence within society. All was well…
…or so it seemed to be. This evening I got a bbm message to say her friend, who she likes a lot was upsetting her. The reason, her friend kept on going on about how poor she was because she could only afford a pair of shoes that cost 10 euros whilst her parents were rich and she could buy whatever she wanted.
How does a parent support their child in this situation? It was a struggle and will be a struggle financially for us in paying for this trip. My daughter understands our family situation and does not ask for much. She is happy getting hand me down clothes and never really asks for things…
Initially, I suggested that perhaps she made her friend feel guilty by throwing her wealth and her fortune back at her and saying how lucky she was that she had a two parent family. However there is bitterness to that idea. Then I suggest that it might be more gracious to ignore it and say nothing but that shows signs of weakness. And finally, I told her that we were rich because we are happy and we don’t need money to feel happy, however whilst an adult can understand it. It will be a tough idea for an almost fourteen year old to accept. I realised that I had no solution for her dilemma.
My final statement, as I was at a loss, was simply, ‘I love you.’ What more could I say or advice?