I'm sitting at my dining room table pondering ideas for a Thanksgiving themed article.
Perhaps the idea of family dynamics and Fatherhood Statistics and how they play a role in the holidays. How this time of year brings thoughts of sorrow or loss to some while others embrace ecstatic joy.
I glance to a piece of paper sitting near me, my son's Christmas list.
It's simple. A few toys but nothing extravagant.
Then it hit me. All are wants, not needs.
He does not understand needing.
For the most part, neither do I.
And I'll guess that the majority of the people that will read this article don't either.
Keeping Up With The Joneses
Society today is a continual influence of consumerism with social media at its core altering our perceptions of success, happiness, and fulfillment. Social platforms have exponentially expanded our exposure to the lives of others, displaying scripted and often unrealistic version of daily existence. Luxurious vacations, extravagant possessions, and seemingly effortless lifestyles can evoke feelings of envy and inadequacy within all of us.
The era of "Keeping up with the Joneses" has evolved into a global affair, with individuals not just comparing themselves to their immediate neighbors but now to people across the globe. The sheer volume of such content scrolled out on our screens intensifies the pressure to acquire more, do more, and be more.
This cycle of more blurs the line between genuine need and excessive want.
During the holiday season, this pressure magnifies. The desire to provide our children with the best, newest, and most coveted items is incredibly strong. We want to witness their joy and happiness, often associating it with material things. The fear of our children feeling left out or less fortunate compared to their peers drives us to fulfill their every wish and desire.
It's a selfish desire, a want, for them to never want again.
But we all know that it won't stop there, for any of us.
Utilize This Time
It starts with you.
While some "influencers" may actually be living the life behind the filter, the majority are portraying nothing but fantasies. The world is never going to stop leveraging your desires. But the desires are purely wants.
Separating and appreciating our needs from our wants is the only way to truly be grateful and content with what we have.
This Thanksgiving, the holiday centered around gratitude, presents a perfect opportunity to reflect on this. It's a time for introspection and acknowledging the blessings and essentials in our lives—family, health, shelter, love, and community.
Encouraging this awareness in ourselves and passing it on to our children is crucial.
Children are always watching. Their values and perspectives are shaped by our daily decisions, words, and actions. So what are you teaching them? Are you prioritizing gratitude over materialism or continually wanting more yourself?
The former helps them distinguish between what is genuinely necessary for a fulfilling life and what might be superficial and excessive.
Embody and nurture this essential knowledge in our children. It's an opportunity not only to celebrate but also instill values that promote long-term happiness and fulfillment.
Let them see nothing but gratitude and contentment from you this holiday season.
Thankful To Only Want
Back to the start of the article.
I've been humbled recently by this thought of needs vs. wants.
My wife and I are continually trying to be more intentional in each aspect of our lives. The primary thought is this: are we being good stewards with all the Lord has given us?
It's simple to begin and end that thought with finances, but it is much greater than that. It's relationships, what we consume (food, drink, or what we watch and listen to), how we use our talents to serve other, or on what do we spend our time.
Our needs of this life have been met.
We wake up each day with a roof over our head, surrounded by walls of security. We eat when hungry, never a second thought about where our next meal is going to come from. Sure, someone in the family has an occasional cough or fever, but healthy overall. I have the blessing of choosing which clothes to put on, what shoes to wear, which coffee to drink, even which car to drive.
Today I am reminded and truly thankful for what I normally take for granted.
I challenge you to be thankful to only want and not need. That you will wake up tomorrow in a warm home with clean water to drink, food to eat, and perhaps someone you love with whom to spend the day.
May we all be so lucky.
Be Present. Be Intentional.
- Chad Vrla