photo by Sheri Dixon

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Blue Light Special Holds No Power Over This One...

I have a confession.

I'm a terrible failure as the parent of a future consumer.

This began when we decided to home school our son, for even though our reasons were varied and included the blocks of time we need to be out of town for medical visits to Houston, the large teacher to student ratio in our local school, mostly we're doing it because so much of what we feel is important to learn and experience can't be found cooped up in a classroom, but must be gotten for real and for true- be it Nature or Theater or Museums or Wonders of the World- the stuff of road trips.

So he missed out on peer pressure and brand indoctrination.

And even though he's as wishful as the next kid when it comes to gadgets, games and other treasures, he's got a different way of looking at things- something I'll gladly take both the credit and the fall for.

The other day in the car he asked me "Mom? Am I spoiled?"

I told him yes. And no.

Yes, because he is what amounts to an only child, even though he's got 2 half siblings they don't really 'count', being so much older than he is- grown and gone already. Whatever time, money and energy we have is devoted to him and him alone.

No, because by and large, he doesn't take advantage of that position.

I asked him if someone had accused him of spoilage, and he said "No- I was just thinking about getting the PS3 for Christmas- I know it was pretty expensive..."

Whereupon I reminded him he did not recieve the PS3 LAST year when it was new (and $400), but this year when it was NOT new (and $250). That alot of the hype and furor over a new gizmo is being the first on the block to get one.

This child of 10 then cast forth the following opinion-
"Well, once something is out for a while, the only distinction the person who got one first has is that they paid alot more for theirs".

Sorry, Shopping Frenzy God- you do not have this boy's soul.

Then we were talking about houses- specifically the new house we are planning on building, and that instead of a bigger house, we are planning on trading down- smaller house, fewer rooms, less of everything. Not because we have to because of budget (although our budget IS thin), but because we WANT to.

He told me about a friend's mothers house he was in while we were in Houston- he said they have a gigantic house for just 2 people- the friend's mother and his sister who lives with her.

In addition to the clearly lavish digs, there are apparently very large-screen tv's and a furniture wonderment of sofa that seats 8 and includes cup holders, foot rests, the literal 9 yards.

Then the common sensible spirit in the boy stuffed the budding consumer parts back into the shadows and said "But there are only 2 people who live there, and one of those is in a wheelchair- what in the world do they need a sofa that seats EIGHT for?"

I'm afraid "Trading Up" and "Bigger is Better" are also concepts that are lost on this one.

I'll admit that this is a boy who does not raise his hand to ask to go to the rest room, who is easily bored with mindless repitition, and who has a very hard time rising before 10am and sleeping before midnight.

But he's also a boy who holds the elevator door open for people without being asked to, who remembered all my favorite dishes when he and a friend went to the chinese restaurant to pick up food while I was sick, and who cares for and about even the littlest critter on our farm.

So while I'm horrified (evil grin) that our boy is not gaining the important skills needed to function in a consumer-driven society,

I'm heartened and proud as can be that he's growing into a wonderful man, and a most excellent human- just like his daddy.

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