Growing up so much was expected of me. We had a family of 11 and there were dishes to do, laundry to be folded and meals to be cooked it seemed at all times. I rarely played with friends, I was punished when not obedient, and I made my own money starting at 11 for clothes and toiletries, eventually paying cash for a car (insurance and gas included) by 20. I walked to school starting in Kindergarten with maybe a ride thrown in once or twice a year. I never had my own room and I had to share all my toys with 4 little brothers.
I do use my childhood hardships to my advantage when talking to my own kids, but the truth is, it was a very happy childhood. There was no place I'd rather be than at home with my siblings and my parents. Whether we were running in the sprinklers in the backyard or having a lively discussion at the dinner table, there was always a lot of love and warmth in my home. Since I grew up with parents who had testimonies of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we also had the spirit which was very much felt.
There were rules, discipline and consequences in my home growing up, but I still felt loved, how is this? It has been proven that for children's optimal development that they be reared in love and righteousness that involves love, warmth and support, but also has limits and boundaries.
Elder Joe J. Christensen counseled, "We should avoid spoiling children by giving them too much. In our day, many children grow up with distorted values because we as parents overindulge them..... One of the most important things we can teach our children is to deny themselves. Instant gratification generally makes for weak people".
Having been a recipient of parents who lived by this quote, I can say I am so very thankful for parents who held me accountable for chores, who gave me a curfew, responsibilities, consequences and who made me work very hard for everything I had. The only thing I didn't have to work for was their love. I felt it in time spent as a family, teaching moments, family baseball games, Saturday morning crepes, family home evenings, and lots of laughter in between.
We didn't have a lot financially growing up, but it just makes me appreciate that much more what I have today. I am so thankful to have had parents who had expectations for us and realized love doesn't mean spoiling.