November 18, 2013

The Culture Of Stuff

Beth, the kids and I went out for dinner last week. On our way home, we passed a Best Buy (also known in my house as the Amazon Showroom) and there were a dozen people camped out in front. They wore heavy coats, sat in folding camping chairs and looked genuinely miserable. So I pulled over and asked them what they were camping for. The PS4, it turned out.

Mia and Owen immediately began asking questions about why seemingly intelligent people would camp out for something. I didn't really have a good answer. With the exception of one midnight Harry Potter book release* I've never really lined up or camped out for anything. Because they're things. I'm as addicted to stuff as the next guy. The total number of electronics and internet-connected devices in my house is staggering. But I don't need them to be happy.

As parents, we find ourselves walking a fine line between:

- Wanting our kids to have stuff that will give them advantages in life and make them happy
- Understanding that there are kids in this world who don't have - or understand the concept of - shoes
- Ensuring they don't feel guilty about having shoes but are empathetic about those less fortunate.

Those are very fine lines.

* I think it was the fifth or sixth Potter novel, before Beth and I had kids. We felt a little creepy standing in line childless so spoke very loudly about our poor nephew Timmy who wasn't able to come and get the book himself because of a tragic lobster accident. I'm not sure that helped.

Posted by Chris at November 18, 2013 8:24 AM | TrackBack

We are always trying to do the same. My husband isn't religious and I used to be but we do pray before meals. The funny thing is that my husband likes to tell them why we thank (God - or anyone) for what we have; because some don't have any of this. It seems to be working. My kids offered to donate some of their toys.

Posted by: Claire at November 18, 2013 9:33 AM
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