Intentionally having less is not always easy, especially on the kids involved in this process. I was reminded of this each time my son’s class earned an “electronics day” as a reward at school. They could bring in their handheld games to play for a set amount of time…..but he didn’t have any. Fortunately, he’s always had very understanding teachers who would set up a computer game or let him hang out with a friend who did have one of the devices. (Because watching over someone else’s shoulder is a lot of fun, right?) This was one instance, though, where when he came home saying “Everyone has one but me,” I absolutely believed him.
What to do with that information, though? I wasn’t going to run right out and buy him a Nintendo DS “because everyone else has one”—what on earth kind of message would that be sending him? He hadn’t cared enough to ask for one for a birthday or Christmas until this past year. We held out for quite a while to see if that desire held steady, and when it did, he finally (he would probably repeat, FINALLY!) got a DSi for his 8th birthday.
I’ve been pleased at how it hasn’t taken over his life. He’s never been my TV kid, so I guess I shouldn’t have worried. It lives downstairs, so there’s no possibility of him staying up with it into the dark hours of the night (that’s what books are for). He plays with it some, and puts it away, and moves on to other things. The biggest difference has probably been that “electronics days” are no longer dreaded events in this house.
I know that this is only the beginning. I know, looming in our future, we’ll be hearing about video games and cell phones and tablets….the list goes on and on. As a mom, I hate when my child is the one “without,” just as much as he hates being the one to stick out and be different. But if you asked me what our priorities are, knowing that how we spend our money reflects our priorities, these things really don’t make the list.