Photo: Valley on the Jasper Parkway
After spending the week with my two wee grandchildren I am even more convinced one of the greatest challenges we face as humans is the tyranny of “the wants.”
The little guy is not quite two years old, and for a not quite two-year old is adorable, affectionate and pretty considerate. But he is discovering he has a will.
I am learning to phrase my questions in a way to make “No!” the desired answer.
“You don’t want to stay awake all afternoon, do you?”
“Do you want to leave your toys out of the toy box like this?”
Even so there is the problem with the abundance of choice. His latest favourite phrases this week are, “Another one,” and “Something else.” Two bites into a snack it occurs to him that there are other fruits in the fridge and other crackers in the cupboard.
“Something else” also tends to be the something else his sister is playing with. I tried to explain to her that the easiest way to get a toy back is to offer him something even more attractive than what he is trying to seize.
That worked really well until she noticed that he now had something better than she did and the grabbing began again. When I tried to play mediator she said, “But I WANT it.” That’s her trump card. But I WANT it!
She looks at me with that desperate victim of craving look I have seen too many times. WANT is here. It must be satisfied. Don’t you understand, Nana?
Oh sweetie. Do I understand? The truth is, although I have learned not to say it out loud, at least not in a whiney tone that could make wallpaper want to curl itself back up the wall, inside I still want to stomp my plump little feet and whine, “but I WANT it!” It is so easy to stand knee-deep in a room full of abundant choices and cry, “But I WANT the one he has.”
What I want:
I want you two to play quietly and safely together so I can chase rabbit trails on my laptop.
I want a new cordless mouse. This one is annoying.
I want to eat a bowl of almonds and chocolate chips and drink a real cream full fat caffeine-laced latte after 2 in the afternoon.
I want to play MY music –loudly– if only to get the “Yes my name is Iggle-Piggle” song out of my head.
I want to be loving and persevering and patient and merciful and compassionate and good without any challenges in my life.
I want faith without ever having to wrestle with doubt.
I want joy in the morning without weeping in the night.
I WANT it!
But my little granddaughter said something very mature for her three years yesterday. She said she would rather take her nap a little early so she would have more time with her Daddy later in the day when he was finished his work –even though she really, really wanted to stay up longer and had that option. She was willing to ignore the WANT monster for the greater reward of relationship with her father. I love this kid.
I’ve heard it said we need much more preparation to survive times of abundance than we do to survive hard times. Hard times teach us that God is our provider. Only those who understand where true wealth lies can handle abundance and not be distracted by it.