What Happened to Treats?

bowl of popcorn

happened to treatsA couple times a month, my parents held a “popcorn party” night where my brother and I would get to watch a movie on the brand-new VHS player, eat homemade popcorn and indulge in our favorite beverage: RC Cola.

I remember those nights fondly and was grateful for the times we got to “have fun” and do something a little out of the ordinary.

It was a special treat for us.

What is a treat?

Merriam-Webster defines treat as “an especially unexpected source of joy, delight, or amusement.” Google says it is: “an event or item that is out of the ordinary and gives great pleasure.”

For me, treats were indulgences like going to events or receiving gifts sometimes accompanied by good behavior or a job well done.

Where have treats gone?

I'm open to the fact this could be age-related and I'm just getting older. But, I don't see as many treats being handed out.

It almost seems like everything is a treat today. And because of this, treats (as I knew them) are nearly extinct.

The flavored, carbonated beverage is now at every meal.

The chips and ice cream too.

Trip to the store for a new toy happens often. As does the vacation out of town.

Where are the treats?

Everything is a treat.

What happens when treats become everyday occurrences

If treats are extinct (or nearly so) as I think they are, what will happen? Why has this happened?

I've had the taste of raising a child – though not of my own and not from infancy. I know the way kids can tug at your heart-strings. It's hard to say no to that cute, pouty face.

I believe one of the reasons for the decline of treats is that we have wanted to give the best to our kids. To give them all (and more) than we had growing up.

We thought this would help them become better children and then better adults. And, of course, we thought this would reveal our love towards them.

But because everything is a treat and there are no longer unexpected events or gifts to look forward to – we've lost the chance to teach our children about delayed gratification. An important lesson in developing character and growing as mature adults.

At the risk of carrying this too far, when everything is a treat and there are no “unexpected” surprises we foster entitlement.

And, this is not an endearing trait.

What are your thoughts?

Have I lost perspective here and showing my age? Do you still see treats in everyday life? Or have they just become so commonplace, they've lost their “treat-ness”?

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  1. Our kids always want a ‘special treat’ but we make sure that they are not an everyday thing. Otherwise they aren’t special!

  2. I agree about the culture thing. My youngest said to me (years ago), “Mom, you never buy us presents, except for special occasions, like our birthday or Christmas.” I thought about it and agreed.

    I knew that the children saw their friends at school get new tech gadgets or video games on a weekly basis. My kids were not recipients of all the stuff. Honestly, it was because we simply couldn’t afford it and my husband and I didn’t grow up that way.

    When my kids were little, they got one gift from Santa. Only. One. My aunt yelled at me for being so stingy and why couldn’t I buy them more? What kind of parent was I? Yup. She never had kids, mind you, but she had plenty of advice.

    Today,the oldest is old enough to buy what he wants and has a steady income. And boy, does he contribute to the economy. The youngest is the opposite. He’s not working at this time, however, so that may be why his wants are low.

    Thanks for the thought-provoking read! I’m glad there are others out there that think the way we do. At times, I thought that maybe we were being too restrictive or just not with the current trend, but it’s refreshing to see that there are people out there like us! Now I don’t feel so bad!

    • Great thoughts Lisa. I think if you aren’t “keeping up with the Jones'” – I think you’re swimming upstream in this culture. But, as you’ve seen, it can pay dividends in our kids / our lives.

  3. Great message…I think it’s a special treat to have my family visit!

    • I enjoyed reading your thoughts on this subject Aaron, and for the record, you are NOT “fuddy duddy”. I agree with you that our culture for the most part has gotten away from the idea of “treating” our kids, and ourselves for that matter is to be something out of the ordinary, and to be looked forward to, and NOT expected….after all, if it is expected, then it is NOT a treat!

      • Thanks Colleen and for reassuring me I’m not (too) old. ;)

    • Having family to visit is a great treat! :)

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