The Character Movement

The Magic of Enough

On a trip not too long ago to Target, Tess and I were in the checkout line when she saw a Disney Cinderella doll. She took it off the shelf and put it in our cart. I took the doll out and put it back. “But, Daddy,” Tess said, “I need that.”

Part of our job as parents is to help our kids understand the difference between wants and needs. It’s not a bad thing for us as adults to reflect upon that difference either, since kids aren’t the only ones who get the words “want” and “need” mixed up. I do it all the time too.

Sometimes just talking about the difference between wants and needs works wonders for redirecting Tess. She and I have had some amazing conversations about what we really need in life – food, shelter, clothing and love. But sometimes, Tess doesn’t care about the difference between wants and needs and in line at Target was definitely one of those times. “Okay,” she said, “Then I really, really want it!”

I told her I understood and that I sometimes really, really want things too. I also shared with her that I thought she already had plenty of Disney princess dolls. “Therefore, I’m not going to buy you this doll,” I said. “You have enough.”

In our consumer-driven economy, “enough” might be the most important word for your children to learn. I’ll spare you the statistics on how many advertisements the average kid receives each day – you’re already well aware of this, especially with Black Friday quickly approaching and advertisers telling everyone that they do not have enough.

One way to solve this issue in your family is to make “enough” a positive word, not a negative, by focusing on gratitude rather than scarcity. The goal is to create a family culture where you can enjoy something, but realize that having more of whatever it is doesn’t make it better.

“I like the jeans you’ve picked out, but we’re not going to buy them all. One pair is enough.”
“That dinner was delicious and I’d love to have dessert, but I think I’ve had enough.”
“I will get that doll for you, but I’d like you to pick one of your dolls at home to give away.”

I think you’ll find that the word “enough” not only helps teach your kids gratitude, but also frees your family up to spend more time on activities that you value.

As the holidays approach, I encourage you to take time to think about the concept of “enough.” Talk to your kids about it. This time of year is perfect for this discussion considering how it’s often filled with unhealthy and sometimes insane amounts of excess. Realizing that you have enough will help your family refocus on gratitude.

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