Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Greed, Patience, and a Teaching ‘Opportunity’

My son’s birthday is still over a month away, but he’s already getting excited about it. Or rather, he’s excited about the prospect of getting more presents.

You would think that with all the great gifts he just received on Christmas and Hanukkah, that there wouldn’t be anything he could possibly want for his birthday. Ah, but that would be an incorrect assumption.

His wish list is long. Basically he wants more of everything he already has, like Legos and Ugly Dolls, plus a few things he doesn’t yet have, like a molecular model set.

Frankly, the way he presents his wish list is more like a set of demands.

And so, I realize that this is an opportunity to teach him about not being greedy, appreciating the things he already has, and being patient about getting the things he wants. And when I say ‘opportunity,’ I mean endless parental frustration, of course.

I guess I shouldn’t expect that a child his age will truly understand that he will be better off in the long run for not getting everything he wants. And that waiting for good things can increase the joy when he finally does receive it. Heck, I know a bunch of adults who don’t understand those things. But I’d like my son to have some notion of being grateful for the many blessings in his life.

It’s not going to be an easy lesson to teach.

When I mention that he will not get everything that he wants, he replies, “YOU ARE SO MEAN!”

And when I tell him that the thing he so wants RIGHT NOW might come on his birthday, but not before, he will protest, “I CAN’T WAIT THAT LONG!”

Perhaps some things can’t be easily taught just by a dad’s preaching. Some things may have to be learned the hard way, through experience over time.

And that is how I will approach this.

I am anticipating a long, loud month.


  1. Its such and important lesson to teach and I am soo glad you are seeing it that way
    But I aslo understand how difficult it will be

  2. Thanks, K. My resolve is strong! :)

  3. Definitely sounds like you are having a strong month! Good for you :) it's definitely easy to slip into giving them what they want more than you would an 'NT' child.... but you're right, that doesn't really help them at all. Buy some earplugs now ;)

  4. Ha! I like the earplugs idea! ;)

  5. I remember how my son used to do it...he would research the object of his desires and he would tell us all these facts about it. He would endlessly discuss it. He would go to forums about it, he would Google it...etc, all the while pretending he wasn't dropping hints about his interest :)

  6. Hah, my son is very similar as far as Googling and talking endlessly about the things he wants. The only difference is that he doesn't drop hints, he comes right out and says he wants it. :)

  7. Oh yes - I am trying to teach a similar lesson.

  8. Good luck to you, too, Lisa.


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