“If they don’t have what you need, want what they have.”
This phrase became our motto in Belize. It was how we learned to live a life with less stuff, but more satisfaction. At first it didn’t sound right, but now I believe it.
I had the urge to write this post after reading Meredith Resnick’s great article, “Money complicated things, so spoil them.”
More is not better, often you need less to appreciate what you have. I’m not suggesting depriving your kids of the basics, I’m talking about the over-indulgence and the entitlement attitude of many in the developed world today. The two Russian girls that Meredith Resnick wrote about in her article felt overwhelmed and couldn’t fathom the need for so much stuff.
The only thing my three sons begged for when we returned to the U.S., was a glass of fresh milk. That’s how one year of powdered milk and our new motto, “If they don’t have what you need, want what they have, changed our kids. A big step in the right direction after “gimme, gimme, gimme,” and begging for a brand new truck, the year before we left. Their priorities, and ours, had changed.
The first time I strolled down the cereal aisle of my local U.S. supermarket, after a year in Belize, my head started spinning, and my knees felt weak. “Need help finding something?” a sales person asked. I looked at him and said, “There are too many choices. I don’t know which one to pick.” I could tell what he was thinking and stood there like a statue, way too long compared to the average shopper. The poor kid shrugged and left.
It’s a beautiful feeling when you, and your kids learn the difference between wants and needs.