Thursday, May 21, 2009

I do not want what I haven’t got.

How many people can say that and truly mean it?

I do not want what I haven’t got (yeah so I stole it off Sinead).

As my boys get older and their wants, not needs, become greater, it has lead me to think about the world that my children are growing up in. The world of want. Seems everyone wants more.

Something bigger.
Something better.
Something faster.
Something stronger.
Something prettier.
Something more than what they have.

Why are we never satisfied?

When my oldest was around seven he asked for a Nintendo system, a few years later he wanted a Nintendo 64, after that came the Gameboys, then the Game Cube, the DS, Sega, the Wii, an iPod, and just this past Christmas he got the iPod Touch. Each year they want something bigger and better than the year before. Now his birthday is approaching and he is asking for some other electronic device that I haven’t even heard of. I am really torn with the idea of purchasing yet another item that will just be used for a short time, then tossed to the side when the next new and improved model comes along. I’m not saying cancel the party and bring back all the gifts. It’s still a time to celebrate, but I’m starting to feel like he has grown so accustomed to getting “things” that it’s just part of everyday normal life, second nature to him. He asks, and he receives, but does he truly understand how fortunate he is to have what he does? I’m struggling with what I am showing him by buying more and more for him. What I’m really saying is, never be satisfied with what you have. Even though you have a lot of “stuff” there’s still more and more stuff to be had.

What a terrible thing to teach him.

Are we raising a generation of kids who just expect things? Like it’s there right and privilege to get what they ask for all the time?

So why do I keep doing it? Granted, I can come up with answers. It’s because I love him and want him to be happy. I want him to fit in and have the stuff that all the other kids have. It makes me feel good when I see him happy. I’m fortunate enough that I have the means to buy the things he wants. Those are some of the answers, but are they right answers? Is the basic human instinct of greed just so great that I can’t bring myself to say no? Am I helping him prepare for adulthood by letting him think that you can pretty much get whatever you want as long as you behave well and wait for your birthday or a major holiday? I think I am. I think that the materialistic propaganda that fills our every waking moment on TV and in magazines and newspapers has seeped so far into our heads that now we just think it’s normal to give and give and give and never step back and say….enough. It’s enough.

I’m slowly trying to simplify my life. Stepping back and looking at the big picture and being content with what I have now. My house that’s a little too small is a mansion to the person who is homeless. My small kitchen that I would love to expand is enormous to the person who cooks their meals over a hot plate; my back yard that I’m constantly landscaping would be a blessing to someone who doesn’t have a quiet place to get away from it all or green grass to squish between their toes.

I’m trying to want less and just be happy and grateful for what I have. I have a loving husband, great kids, a loyal family, the best friends anyone could ask for and peace of mind. All the things money can never buy. All the things that fill me up with contentment and love and make me step back and say, “I don’t really need more that what I have”. I may want it, but I don’t really need it.

This is the message and mantra I want to instill in my children:

A simple life is a fulfilled life.

I think I’ll have to change my tune to “You can’t always get what you want”.
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