I just heard Paul Johnson speak at the 'Embracing the Early Years' conference in Burlington, Ontario. He said something I found very significant. From his previous work in a homeless shelter, he noticed that the one commonality among its clients was a negative childhood. That was it. Not even income or education level could be said to be the same for everyone. Only the lack of a good childhood.
That demonstrates the importance of the work we do as parents.
And I don't think this means buying your kids things. It's about creating a loving, fun atmosphere with positive structure. It's giving your time. I'll never be a perfect parent, that's for sure. But I love my kids, and I'll keep trying to make sure they know it. Even when they leave laundry and wrappers on the floor!