Learning the difference between a want and need is a tough one. Especially since the media sells the message that we “need” more. And as the holiday advertising begins in earnest, my kids are starting to craft their Christmas wish lists.
They have been carefully looking through the holiday toy circulars that have been arriving through the mail and newspaper.
The other day, they each took a turn circling all of the things they wanted in one circular. As could be imagined, a lot of the latest and greatest – and most expensive – items were highlighted. My husband and I had to tell them that, while Christmas is a time of gift giving, they might need to re-think some of their choices, because Santa is on a budget and has limited space in his sleigh. We also suggested they could search for an alternative solution, such as working toward earning the prized item.
For the past year, my oldest son has begged for hand-held video game system. It’s something I was never interested in, but he has been insistent on having. Finally, I told him he could earn a majority of the money for it, thinking he would eventually tire of the patience it would need. However, he’s proved me wrong.
My oldest son has nearly earned his half of the money needed for the prized video game system. I have spent many a night helping count out his money to see how much more he needs to earn. And, by his birthday, he will have met his financial obligation, a project nearly a year in the making. I could not be more proud of him, and I believe he will appreciate the moment he gets to pick it up from the store.
-- Charlene M. Shupp Espenshade, special sections editor