My friend J and I were talking about parenting a while back. She explained how her and her husband S always gave her stepson Little S reasons for things. If they were at the store and he wanted something and the answer was no, the reason might just be it’s not good for you to get everything you want.
It’s not good for you to get everything you want.
For some reason that line has been bouncing around in my head recently. I totally agree: it’s not good for kids to get everything they want. Most of us probably agree with that.
Let’s take it a step further though. Is it good for adults to get everything they want? Is it good for me to get everything I want? If it’s not good for kids, why would it be good for adults?
Certainly if I’m at the store and I want something, it becomes much more complex. Do I have the money for it? Do I think I really need the thing? Do I have the time to use it? Would my money be better spent elsewhere? Will I find a cheaper or better version at another store or online? Is the thing itself actually good for me or is it a box of donuts?
My wants are more complex. I may want the box of donuts but I may also want to be healthy.
My ability to satisfy my wants is vastly greater than that of a child. If I wanted a box of donuts right now, I could get in the car, drive to town and buy some nice glazed donuts. My son B on the other hand isn’t likely to be getting any donuts this morning no matter how badly he may want them. (Actually, I don’t think he even knows about donuts yet, but that is beside the point.)
It’s easy for me to get sucked into trying to satisfy my wants. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. But maybe sometimes when I’m looking at that box of donuts, my internal dialogue about whether I want to eat healthy or I want a treat should include the phrase, “It’s not good for you to get everything you want.”