Today I drove to Macon to meet a friend's one week old baby girl. She's adorable, and they're both doing well. While I was driving down I began thinking about all of the things we teach children--both intentionally and unintentionally. Unfortunately our intent often doesn't make a difference in how the lesson is perceived and retained as I am sometimes reminded when I see my nieces mimicking something they've observed me saying or doing. And it's one of the reasons I hate those stupid Bratz dolls (for those of you who are unfamiliar--imagine Barbie becomes a hooker and gets a teenager's attitude) and Junie B. Jones books (in which the main character seems to be completely incapable of correctly conjugating a verb). And this fact is a reason I think who spends time with children is so important. I've heard people say that "anyone can change a diaper"--hinting at what they really want to say: why would an educated, intelligent parent want to stay at home with his or her child? But in light of all that children learn from those they spend time with that statement seems awful short-sighted and ignorant. There's just so many "teachable moments" that obviously who does the teaching is important.
Of course, our society doesn't really lend itself to parents taking time off to stay at home. Sure, it's quite possible for some couples, but with a large number of single parents it's not feasible for many. And a lot of us don't want to give up the SUV, restaurant meals, vacations, and what not. It's amazing what all we think we "need." And somehow it's never quite enough.
As amazing as my recent trip was, I cannot wait to take another one and am filled with major wanderlust. And as many clothes as I have, I somehow still find myself browsing online. Want, want, want. It sort of reminds me of my oldest niece who has so many toys that an entire room is devoted to them--not to mention the toys outside, Gameboy, and whatnot. Yet she constantly whines that she's bored.
How can those of us with so much still want more? How can I complain when my problems are all related to wants and not needs? Sometimes I think that we feel justified in wanting or complaining because we have less than someone else (like Bill Gates...or our neighbor) despite the fact that most of us, as Americans (as well as my one Canadian reader), have so very much. Just by virtue of the fact that I have a laptop and internet access, you know I'm not struggling for the essentials of food, water, and shelter. So I wonder what exactly we're teaching children by our endless accumulation of stuff despite our possession of so much.
Hmmm...maybe I shouldn't take long drives because it leads to this sort of neverending type of question.
p.s. I'm thankful for the perfect health of little Sophia.