Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Want vs. Need

Bird's homework yesterday was to make a list of five things he Wants and five things he Needs. Then we had to work together to determine the price of one item he covets, find out where to get it, and figure out how he could earn the money to buy it. We went through the exercises, but the outcome is realistically never gonna happen. Can a six-year old really earn 300 bucks to buy himself a freaking gaming system? Pretty damn unlikely in this house. I can't speak to what grandparents might succumb to.

Bird's homework got me thinking about how we're teaching our sons the difference between wanting and needing. There's simultaneously a fine line yet a jagged abyss between the two. It's clear that I'm not setting a very good example. I pine for the perfect pair of black boots and whine about how I nnnneeeeeeeeeddddd them. Of course I know and Mac Daddy knows I don't need them. Mac Daddy knows me well enough to know that all I really need is a slick cool slap of reality once in a while. That, and ice cream.

Have a look at Bird's list. You'll note that it ain't gonna win him any points on the pageant circuit. Looks like I'll have to return all the bow ties and black tap shoes I've been hoarding in his closet.

Need (He's clearly one to harp on the obvious.)
Mom and Dad (I'm amazed we made this list, with me getting top billing even!)
Car (This is because we live in Raleigh, the world's most unwalkable city.)

Want (Hmmm...this list harkens to the letter Bird wrote to Santa.)
Nerf gun
TV in my room (Nevah!)
Blendy Pens
Wii games
Ds games

The pageant folks might be impressed with the inclusion of artsy Blendy Pens (despite the As Seen on TV pock mark that blemishes this choice) or the future architect potential of LEGO, but the rest of the stuff is mindless clutter, literally and figuratively. I will say this: Bird is a kid who knows what he wants.

But what he needs is an attitude adjustment. As for me and those perfect black boots, I realize I don't need them. But I really really really really really want them. In a size 6. You know, just in case anyone is feeling particularly generous.

Maybe Bird and I can get a BOGO deal on that attitude adjustment.
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Anonymous said...

He's so astute at such a young age! Mine get so obsessed with WANTING, and I think we have spoiled them to a large degree. Perhaps we need an Austerity Programme.

Angel said...

I am 34 years old and still have to remind myself in Target what I NEED and what I just WANT. It's vicious. I am a horrible example to my kids, so that's probably why they act like spoiled brats now:)

Magpie said...

I learned something! BOGO doesn't mean what I always thought. I thought it was slacker for bogus. Okay, I'm a dweeb.