Guest Post by Darryl Cox (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada)
This past holiday season was my first as a parent. My wife and I were very excited at the thought of seeing our 11 month old daughter, Gwenyth, on Christmas morning with her pile of presents and the massive excitement she would exude because she knew Santa had been in our house.
Being her first Christmas we needed to make it special (clearly she would remember it forever!). Of course, as the typical story goes with babies and presents, she was less interested in the gifts and more interested in the paper and boxes. To add insult to injury, when we went to go visit my grandmother with all the best new toys in tow, the favourite activity at Grandma’s house was playing with a drink coaster.
I couldn’t stop thinking about this for hours. I mean we did everything right. When batteries weren’t included we included them. Most of the toys were loud and obnoxious– a major draw for all infants—so why wasn’t she all over them?
Then it occurred to me: that isn’t what was appealing to my daughter. She is more interested in spending the time with people she cares about and discovering new things that appeal to her!
We had pushed holiday consumerism onto an infant that didn’t understand the concept. And she was having none of it.
I decided to transfer that thought process into my life (I suggest you try this too). What events in my life were “batteries not included” experiences? It shocked me at how consumer driven I have become and how none of my favourite memories included batteries.
Batteries will lose their charge in time (much quicker if you go the cheap route) and when this happens what are we left with? A big piece of plastic that no longer appeals to us! A good group of friends, on the other hand, never loses its charge. You can always find something to do with a few friends (although even if at the time it seems like a good idea, drinking games are NEVER a good idea! Especially if they involve cookies).
For years you and your friends will be able to say things like:
“Remember that time in the hot tub?” and,
“I couldn’t believe how well he did high kicks! And the splits blew my mind!” and,
“I’m telling you, Josh Martin can do back flips.”
It is very easy to get caught up in consumerism; ad agencies are betting millions you will. But it doesn’t take much to stay grounded. My preferred method to try and look through innocent eyes: like my daughter’s or even my dog, Norton’s. You are able to learn a lot from innocence because it hasn’t been tainted.
I’m not sure who said it but as the saying goes, “We’d be better off, better people… if we acted more like dogs.” From now on I will employ W.W.N.D (What Would Norton Do?) with all my purchasing decisions.
In doing so I bet I’ll be spending a lot more time with family and friends this year!
Happy New Year!
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Funny stories. Good advice. Check out my books, “Simple(ton) Living: Lessons in balance from life’s absurd moments.” and “Balancing Priorities and Prioritizing Balance”. Click here to learn more and to purchase a copy.