I recently told my son, Mr. Thoughtful, “it’s good to want things.” My statement was promptly followed by a look of bewilderment from the boy.
He’s been asking me for all manner of crap that eight year old boys simply don’t need.
Things like very expensive electronics. Things like an iPad.
This is when the words, “it’s good to want things” left my lips. I have an iPad and I love it, but my kids are on it far more than I am. Mr. Thoughtful loves his Dragon Story game, but hates that the girls get to play on the iPad, too and “mess up” his game. So he wants his own iPad so that he can play his game and no one else can touch it. I see his point, but I don’t want my children to be spoiled by things.
So, this was our brilliant (and slightly obvious) solution. Don’t tell the kid he can’t have it because as previously mentioned, it’s good to want things. Instead, we told the kid there was no way in hail we were buying it for him. If he wants it, he has to work for it. He’ll be working for his dad and working for me and since this isn’t a charity, we’re totally taking out taxes.
The obvious message here is that he can have anything he wants if he’s willing to work for it. It’s human nature – wanting things is what drives us. But it’s equally – if not more – important not to neglect what we have right now.
At what point do any of us just look at what we already have and really, genuinely appreciate it? I want him to learn that life isn’t measured by stuff and to be grateful for all the little wonders we’re privileged enough to get to have and experience. To thank God for it and realize that nothing is promised to us, no one owes us anything.
Basically, GRATEFULNESS = GOOD / ENTITLEMENT = THE DEVIL
…or something like that…
I figured the best way to make someone appreciate what they’ve already got is to take it away for a while. Am I right? I thought it might also encourage that work ethic I want to inspire in him if he didn’t have such regular access to my stuff.
So, I hid the iPad. I hid it so well that now I can’t even find it!
After going without iPad access for a little while, Mr. Thoughtful did start to show a little appreciation. So much so that now he’s offering to work for a new one so he can trade it to me for the old one! *giggles*
I woke up this morning to find a note pinned (yes – PINNED!) to my living room floor.
If you can find the iPad or tell me where it is, please do. If you find the iPad please put it under this paper.
Please write back.
Followed by this after thought….
You are a really good guy. Maybe the best I know and I just hope you have a good day.
P.S. James wrote this, too.”
After that, I looked for the iPad. Again. How could I not after I see my kid is begging God for it? I found it underneath my couch cushions (I know I didn’t hide it there) with the screen cracked. *sad face* But it still works!
So that deal where my son wants to buy a new iPad and trade it to me for the old one is looking even better. I’m seriously considering just paying him the difference in cost of the two iPads. Does it make me horrible if I say I’ll even throw in depreciation compensation? (I’d make a great skeezy car salesman, right?)
But seriously, dare I caution him that he’s making a not-so-brilliant deal or let him learn by trial and error? I can already see how this idea would play out and as horrible as it is, I admit, I had a good laugh when I watched it in my head.
He’ll work for months over the summer saving for this new iPad. The day he has enough money, we’ll take him to the store and he’ll proudly tell the cashier how he saved up $900 all by himself just for this! We’ll take it home and he’ll eagerly hold out the brand new box to me as I reach for the old iPad to give to him in exchange. We’ll make the trade and his eyes will light up because finally – FINALLY – the iPad that he’s been playing his very favorite game on for so many months will officially be HIS and he can rightfully ban his sisters from touching it EVER! Then, he’ll open the cover on HIS new play-toy……
and see a cracked screen.
At which point he’ll offer it back to me quickly claiming he wants the new one back. And I’ll have no choice but to say…
“It’s good to want things, son.”