Thursday, November 6, 2008

It's not having what you want, It's wanting what you've got

My house is quiet. Everyone is in bed and asleep. I love this time of day (night). D goes to bed so early and would like for me to go in when he does- but it is so hard. I enjoy cuddle time with him, but then I lay there for 2 hours before I can fall asleep. If left to my own body clock, I would easily go to bed about 1am and get up at 10am. Alas, I can't do that (except on Monday's- my day off) with kids, work, homeschool...

I enjoy the quiet of the house after everyone is in bed. It really is the only time of my day that is just for me. I get to watch whatever I want on tv or read or surf the 'net. I wonder though- in the future when our home truly is empty- will I enjoy the quiet or will I crave noise and distraction? Will I miss what I have now?

Isn't it interesting how we always seem to want what we don't have? Remember the lyrics to the Sheryl Crow song "Soak Up the Sun?"- "It's not having what you want, It's wanting what you've got."

I was at the mall today and of course everything is already decked out for Christmas. I really love Christmastime. Every year though I struggle (internally and with D) with not getting too much stuff for the kids. Even when we are financially able to do more- I just come to hate the feeling of more, more, more. Not that I don't enjoy shopping, or even giving my children gifts- but the constant push to do more, get more, buy more gets to me.

Today we got a large Wal-Mart Toy Ad in the mail. Tomorrow it goes in the trash recycling. I just know if it sticks around this house too long, I won't hear the end of "I want this, I want that." The funny thing is- I remember when I was a kid and I LOVED getting the Sears Wish Book. Ooohhh how I loved that thing. I could look at it for hours! I don't think I ever really expected to actually get anything from it, but I sure had fun looking at it. I think things were so different then. Now we are inundated with commercials, ads, billboards, etc.. constantly.

When I was a kid watching cartoons (on one of the 3 channels that we got) there were maybe 3 commercial breaks with a total of 2 commercials before the show came back on. Now there are so many it is ridiculous. We thankfully have DVR, so we record most shows we care to watch and fast forward throught the commercials. On average, there are 20 minutes of commercials for an hour long program! That is crazy!

Consider this information that I found on

-Trusting little souls, young kids (certainly those less than 8 years) believe what they see on TV and magazines and billboards to be the gospel truth (of course, so do many of us adults) and they do not recognize the intent-to-sell motivation underlying commercials.

-The average American child may view up to 40,000 TV commercials per year (1 hour of children's TV contains about 50 ads).

-U.S. children, ages 4-12 years, influence the spending of an estimated $50 billion/year. Teens influence or spend about $150 billion/year. A billion here, a billion there, and soon you are talking real money and real economic clout.

-As early as 3 years, children recognize brand logos (that's why, in 1991, 5-year-olds could better identify Joe Camel than Mickey Mouse). A recent study showed that kids described carrots in a logo marked plastic bag as tastier than the same carrots on a plate!

So this year, I am going to try a little harder to spend a little less money and a lot more time with my kids doing things they love. Reading to them, playing games and doing crafts. And turning off the TV!

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