“I Want More”

I learn more from my children that I often give them credit for. And that’s a pretty common parental mistake; we tend to think that we have all the knowledge and know-how and need to impart it on these blank slates so that they can learn and grow. But kids see everything and hear everything, even when we’re of the opinion that they don’t. And it amazes me how I often see a child’s behaviour in most of the adults that I associate with. I was reminded of just such a thing last Saturday, when I brought my oldest to an indoor play gym to blow off some steam.

The original plan was to go to a local shopping mall, which contains an inside play structure. What’s nice with this location is that there are always plenty of children for the boys to socialize and play with and it happens to be free. Although this may make me sound ridiculously cheap, any parent can easily understand the need to find inexpensive or cost-free ways of entertaining one’s children; especially when you have more than one of them.

As is usually the case, Nathan tends to change his mind more than an internet joke about asking your girlfriend where she wants to eat. We were only five minutes down the road when he decided he wanted to go to an inside trampoline gym called “Get Air.” Although I’ll be the first one to admit that it’s pretty awesome, it also costs a small fortune and requires constant yelling and correction to keep him from literally breaking his neck. I explained to him that we wouldn’t be going to this location, especially since they require specialized socks. He indignantly stated he wanted to return home and go nowhere but we had a purchase to return at the mall we were MEANT to, which is another reason we were headed there.

I calmly explained that we weren’t turning around simply because he was unhappy with the options he was being given and that we would go return the purchase I had with me and we could come back home, then. Once we were at the retail location, he stated he would be in the toy section and scuttled off. Once the return was done, I found him and told him it was time to go. He handed me a 10-dollar toy and expressed his want of it. I explained that we weren’t here to buy toys and that every outing didn’t indicate that something would be purchased for him. Any other parents relating to this story, yet?

He got visibly angry with me and explained that since I wasn’t taking him where he wanted to go, buying him this toy was the least I could. Setting aside for a moment that the least I could do is feed him, clothe him and essentially keep him alive, the degree of selfishness he was displaying was making me nauseous. And then, something unexpected happened; he Jedi mind-tricked me. Somehow, through our debate, I wound up being convinced that he had the choice of either choosing the toy and going straight home for the day or I would concede to take him to an indoor park called Klimerz, which required no special socks.

He chose Klimerz and I was somehow pleased with this as I felt that he would have the opportunity after all to burn off some steam and play with some other kids. It wasn’t until I had paid the entry and was sitting on a bench watching him run around that I realized the lack of logic I had used in my decision and the fact that my 7-year old had basically played me. I’m not proud of it but I stand by the fact that it was of some benefit to him. I let him play for over an hour and half before finally telling him we needed to go. He was soaked in sweat and had a blast, playing with several of the other children at the location. I felt my job was done.

It wasn’t until we were both in the car and buckled in, that he chose to say, “I wanna play some more…” Now, I have two problems with this; the first is that he just finished playing for over an hour and half and this should have been adequate to satisfy any reasonable person. The second is that rather than try and petition further time out of me while we were still inside, he chooses when I’m about to hit the accelerator to say something. I explain that we’re done and have to head home and he gets angry and yells, “I WANT MORE!!!”

This prompted a rather in-depth discussion (because we were in the car and rolling and couldn’t escape)about appreciating what one is giving and to avoid constantly wanting more. Although I was glad that he had had fun, we went from a cost-free afternoon at a public park to paying a fair amount of cash at a specialized play structure and he still wasn’t happy and “wanted more.” Alright, fair enough. He’s a kid and I get it. As a child, we all experience good things that we’d like to see and do more of. We don’t have the reflexes to understand that there need to be limits to such things and that we don’t always get what we want.

So, what about adults? The unfortunate reality is that adults are often as bad if not worse than kids. Modern society has been groomed to believe that the purpose to life is the acquisition of belongings and property. The harsh reality is that in the vast majority of cases, no matter how much one gets, one usually always ends up wanting more. And that’s unfortunate. Most people, at some point in their lives, have heard the expression, “You can’t take it with you.” And this is true. Wanting more in life will often find you achieving less and having an emptier life. And as for Nathan, he’ll eventually learn what’s important. It may take a few full-on sulk sessions before that happens but he’ll get there. ☯️

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Shawn

I am a practitioner of the martial arts and student of the Buddhist faith. I have been a Type 1 Diabetic since I was 4 years old and have been fighting the uphill battle it includes ever since. I enjoy fitness and health and looking for new ways to improve both, as well as examining the many questions of life. Although I have no formal medical training, I have amassed a wealth of knowledge regarding health, Diabetes, martial arts as well as Buddhism and philosophy. My goal is to share this information with the world, and perhaps provide some sarcastic humour along the way. Welcome!

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