But…I NEED it!
My four year old son is really growing up so much, and I am so proud of him. We have a lot of fun together, and enjoy learning about life together. It is always so interesting to hear what will come out of his mouth. “I love you, Dad,” “I’m singing for Jesus,” “Do you know about Paul and Silas?,” “Big Hug, Big Kiss!,” (meaning one that includes him, my wife, and me) and “Dad, let’s play rough,” are some of my favorite quotes so far. He’s really a great kid!
But however terrific he may be, he’s still human, and he’s still only four, and he’s still my son. This means he still has a lot of growing up to do. One of his current favorite phrases is, “But…I NEED it!” This is almost always preceded by his mother or me telling him “no” to a particular request. To my best recollection, neither of us have actually ever deprived him of something he NEEDED when he asked for it. In fact, at his age, the vast majority of his NEEDS are supplied without his asking – we know what he needs.
The truth is, hearing him say how much he NEEDS something is currently one of the clearest indicators that he does not NEED it, and in fact, would probably benefit directly from doing without it. Don’t get me wrong – our son is far from deprived. One look in our backyard, his bedroom, or our living room quickly confirms the reality of that issue. And maybe that is a big contributor to his probably of mistaking want for NEED. He gets most of what he wants. Oh, we don’t spend elaborate amounts of money on toys, and he hears “no” plenty from us, but he really does get a great deal of what he wants.
And isn’t that the American way? But…I
want NEED it! Well, if you want it that much, there’s no reason you shouldn’t have it right away. I won’t attempt to go into an exhaustive list of all the areas of typical American life where we expect to get what we want, when we want it, with little or no hassle or sacrifice on our parts. I’ll just pick one that clearly illustrates this warped perspective that can so easily grab hold of our attitudes and our lives. Credit cards. I read last night that Americans currently owe over $995,000,000 in credit card debts. That’s over 995 million, folks! We’re baring down fast on owing ONE BILLION DOLLARS IN CREDIT CARD DEBT!!! Holy short-sighted, self-indulgent, I-don’t-just-want-it-I-NEED-it!, Batman! We’ve got a huge problem here. We aren’t worried about how much we really NEED stuff, or whether we have actually earned enough to pay for it. We want it, and we’ve got the plastic to get it for us right now. Cha-ching!!!
So, my challenge to you today is this: Take a couple of weeks for some focused self-analysis. Notice how many things you approach on a regular basis as though you NEED them. Then ask yourself, “Do I really NEED this, or is it a want or convenience?” Notice how often you expect to get whatever you want, whenever you want it, and get bent out of shape when your expectation isn’t met to your satisfaction. Notice your reaction in such situations. How did you do? Anything need to change? Maybe a steady, big dose of gratitude and contentment would help. I know it helps me tremendously, when I’m willing to take my medicine. And I know my son will struggle to learn gratitude and contentment if he does not see it in his Dad. Well, I’m off to go pick up my son from school. I just hope there aren’t any idiots out there holding up traffic, because I really NEED to get there when I want to get there, regardless of how much time I left myself to make the trip! Yeah, I know – I’ll keep taking my medicine. I’m obviously not cured yet.