Our soon to be five year old son has really been hit hard by an epidemic infection that may have already infested your home. This virus is a nasty one that hits early, hits hard, can lead to forms of paralysis, and re-emerges quite readily upon re-exposure. And it seems re-exposure is inevitable in our country. This bug is everywhere, and you may even be a carrier. It is actually spread and fed through a number of avenues that you have right in your own home, and may be continuing to bring into your home from a variety of stores and websites that you frequent with the best of intentions.
There are a number of different strains of this malady, including Discontent, Ingratitude, Greed, Boredom, and Envy. Some common symptoms include whining, fit-pitching or tantrums, demanding more stuff, and neglect of what a child already possesses. Here is how this devastating illness has infected our son, and how we have been working to help strengthen his immune system against it:
Recently, our son has become targeted by the Toy Marketing Virus. It seems to work much like a computer virus. He opens up a seemingly benign package that contains something we intentionally bought or approved for him, such as a new Lincoln Logs or Mega Bloks set. After playing with his creativity-stimulating toys for a few minutes, the unwanted attachment kicks in and begins to infect him, playing havoc with his system.
The attachment to which I am referring is the full color foldout spread of all the other toy sets he can get to augment this one into the Set of His Dreams. Nasty, nasty attachment, this one is! It begins to corrupt his enjoyment and creativity, crashing his hard drive as he becomes convinced his life is incomplete without owning at least two or three more play sets. These additional play sets inevitably look way cooler than the one he now owns, rendering him almost incapable of appreciating what he already has.
I am happy to report that while his immune system has not yet developed enough to protect him, his Mom and Dad are able to offer him a virus protection program that seems to be showing signs of freeing his young hard drive. It is a multi part process that may take years of consistent reinforcement on our part, but I believe will be well worth the effort on our part for the dividends it pays in his life.
Step One – Upon opening all toys (at least for the foreseeable future), we will be removing the nasty Trojan Horse attachment, disguised as an advertisement for more stuff to bring greater fun and enjoyment to his life. The only folks who seem to be deriving greater fun and enjoyment from this attachment are the marketing genuises at the toy companies. Fun’s over. Our child will no longer be your unwitting host.
Step Two – When he does go into active symptoms, as listed above, we take action to starve out the virus by withholding the toy(s) that seem to be re-igniting the infection for a set amount of time. Usually a day or two is enough to clear up his system and elicit a response of “I’m sorry I was whining” or “I’m sorry I kept asking for [the mini toy catalog]” or some other such indication that he is once again appreciative of what he does have, and is back on the road to recovery.
Step Three – This may be the most critical step of all. Minimize risk of re-infection by addressing our own infection with this illness of craving more, and the related epidemic parental virus that urges us to keep buying him more Stuff when he already has more than plenty. At times this may even call us to intervene when others would buy him more Stuff out of their best of intentions. As his parents, it is our responsibility to see that he is not exposed to more stuff than his level of appreciation, gratitude, and enjoyment can handle. No matter what StuffMart.com or Toymania catalog or Kids Videos That Are Really Pure Marketing Ploys To Buy More or their cronies have to say!
This may seem like a harsh cure, but the consequences of inaction are far worse. This illness has been known to cripple people for life, leaving them incapable of ever being satisfied with what they have and always striving and straining for more, newer, and better Stuff. I hope this helps you discover the right remedy and inoculation process for your own children (and maybe even your self). May God help us all as we fight for freedom from this ugly epidemic! Our fight may not be “good for the U.S. economy,” but it is most certainly good for our people, and far better for our economy in the long run than the quick fix of buying more Christmastime Crap on Credit. Sounds like a good topic for a holiday season post. 😉
With Hope in Him,