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Buy your kids experiences, not things
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By Stephen Browne
Stephen Browne
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By Stephen W. Browne
Aug. 21, 2014 11:31 a.m.

We’re coming to the end of a longish road trip from Wyoming to Oklahoma and back, and what a trip it’s been.
We spend nights on the road in our tent, though last night we splurged on a cabin at KOA in Limon, Colorado. It’s still half the price of an inexpensive motel.
Since the kids are going to school shortly after we get back (Boo!) we took our time, didn’t try to cover too much ground in a day and stopped at a lot of places that looked interesting.
Yesterday we stopped at a family-run petting zoo sort of thing. We say two live five and six-legged cows, lots of prairie dogs, goats, pigs – and a cage full of rattlesnakes.
Of course my kids wanted to spend my money on lots of things.
“Nope,” I said.
Well not entirely. I don’t stint on reading material and I have given in to requests to supplement their allowances to buy a few keepsakes. But most pleas I deny, to teach them discipline, that there is not an infinite supply of things they can have.
But what I don’t stint on is experiences. Things like that petting zoo, or a zipline ride, or tickets to the Pioneer Woman Museum in Ponca City, Oklahoma where their great-grandparents lived.
As I write this my kids are outside trying out some reclining tricycles the campground has for rent.
What I am buying them is memories. Things that will last longer than any thing I might buy them. Longer than I will last in truth.
Perhaps someday they’ll have some little thing they treasure, something they’ll tell their children Daddy bought them. But things get lost or broken, these memories they’ll keep. And they’ll know how to do the same for their children.

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