The Illusion of “Stuff”

So the time has come once again for you reach deep deep into your wallet or purse and part with a significant amount of money in order to see your child smile and enjoy themselves for 48 hours or the fall term of high school; their attention span for new things. You can call this time “Christmas” or a “Birthday” or “Graduation” or “Having a Good Report Card” or “A disappointment buffer” etc etc. There are an array of occasions real and imagined that warrant — in your mind — a trip to the mall. There is no way I could sit here and say I am not part of this club, nearly all parents are. No big deal right? Right.

Except its an illusion.

No I am not suggesting that you tell your little one that every single birthday & Christmas from now on will be cancelled but I think it all needs to be put in perspective. Parenting needn’t to be a mythological experience with no beginning or end that you stumble through via the grace of the Almighty. People have traversed this road before and have done so without iphones and the internet. I believe that YOU should be your first stop when looking for an answer to a question you feel is larger than your circumstance.

So ask yourself can you remember every present you received from every single birthday? If the answer is no then what does your childhood memories consist of? I’d wager the finite details are fuzzy but the overall canvas of experience comprises of a consistent theme: love, understanding, comfort, hate, arguments, pain etc. We buy into the illusion is that “stuff” masks or manifests these themes when in fact people do. Children remember all the “stuff” you give them: the material “stuff” never quite compares with the the emotional “stuff” however, so be mindful of where you invest your time, energy and resources. Money spent on experiences is money well spent. Money spent on “things” is fleeting. Emotional investment is enhanced by your wallet but it should be limited by it.

Material things are an illusion. Promise.

– A Single Dad

PS. Can’t lie, Christmas 1985? A Nintendo Entertainment System? Mom and Dad: good job!

2 thoughts on “The Illusion of “Stuff”

  1. Great post! I, too, remember few gifts from my childhood. Your post reminded me to think about the overall mood surrounding birthdays and Christmas…so very different. For one thing, we simply had friends come over to the house for a couple of hours (honestly, I may have even preceded Chuck E. Cheese), play and eat cake. Pretty simple and lots of fun.

    I just wrote a post about this topic (http://www.ftdad.org/?p=523) and it’s great to hear other dads dealing with the same issues.

    Keep up the great posts!

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