Teaching our children how to understand the difference between needs and wants.
The little girl looked up at me and said, “I NEED a cookie!” She expected immediate compliance on my part. For many of us the advertising world has erased the line between needs and wants, thereby trapping us in a great unhappiness of unfulfilled “needs.”
To know that our basic needs are air, water, food, clothing, shelter, love, purpose and wisdom, frees us to look at everything else as optional. And that’s what everything else is!
To have a TV is nice, but not necessary. Computers, internet connection, cell phones and ice cream are all wants, not needs. To teach children the difference is to equip them to make wise choices for the rest of their lives. Part of this is teaching them how to decide which wants to fulfill. Learning to properly evaluate a potential purchase leads us to wiser choices.
“I can do without this.”
“I don’t actually need this, but as I have extra money, I will buy it and share it with my brother.”
“Instead of buying this snack, which I don’t need, I think I’ll buy a card for my friend who is sick.”
“It would be nice to have a brand new car, but a good used one will get me to where I want to go–and it will protect me from years of unwanted payments and interest charges!”
“It would be nice to go out for supper, but I don’t need that fattening food. I’ll invite my friend over for a good healthy supper, and give what I saved to the homeless shelter.”
Knowing the difference between needs and wants is a need!
How about us parents? Do we know the difference between a need and a want so we can teach our kids?