Love People, Use Things
It’s that time of year. The season to give and get stuff. My mailbox overflows with catalogs on what to buy and how to be happy. When I was young, all I needed to be happy was a Hot Wheels set. Then all would be well. Then I would be satisfied. When I got the Hot Wheels deluxe set, I was satisfied – for about three hours.
Marketers succeed in convincing many young TV watchers to ask for the newest iPhone, expensive yoga pants or top-quality sports equipment. Often we think getting more will make us feel fulfilled. However, all the stuff only makes us desire more stuff. Give it about three hours and the focus shifts to yet another wish unfulfilled.
Many kids want to have more, do more, be more. I worry that we’re overwhelming our kids – stuffing them with things, while they still look around unsatisfied. We fill their schedules with so much that they never have time to dream or seek paths that one day may fulfill them. We’ve helped create a generation of children who feel endless desire and yet never feel complete.
I know that most of us mean well when we overindulge our children, but we do so at the expense of their true well-being. To live a life only thinking of oneself is not a life well lived. We need deeper things such as knowing that character is more important than consumption. To realize that the person who has the most toys may still be an unhappy and lonely person. And to understand that, in the words of a friend of mine, we should love people and use things – not the other way around.