Image via WikipediaI was driving to work the other day, when I heard a story about the #1 most requested item on the "wish lists" of children aged 6-12. It doesn't really hit me as a big surprise, but it is the Apple iPad. While I am not surprised, I guess I am a little bit disappointed or disillusioned. It makes me wonder if we are failing the youth of today by creating a generation of consumers with no regard for what things cost.
Now I must confess, that I have bowed at the altar of consumerism and been on the materialistic side. For several years, I was an early adapter of technology. I made the transition from vinyl records to CDs well before most of my contemporaries, however, I did so when I was working and using my own funds to indulge in my habits. At least I had an idea of how much work and effort went into getting my things.
I no longer subscribe to the philosophy of life that he who dies with the most toys wins. That is not to say that having material things is bad in and of itself. It is just that it should not be the end all be all of our existence. There are a lot of things that make our lives easier, more enjoyable, and comfortable. There is nothing wrong with having those things as long as they can be acquired with minimal hardship.
To get back to the kids. For the life of me, I can not imagine that I would ever have asked my parents to get me anything quite as extravagant as an iPad. There were four kids in my family growing up. Something like an iPad would have cost as much as all of our Christmas presents put together. I don't think any of us would have been happy opening one present between the four of us.
As a parent, I love to get things for my son, but I know how he treats things. He can be pretty rough with things, and they tend not to last very long. I imagine that something like an iPad would end up being an awfully expensive paperweight. How many 6-12 year old kids would be able to take proper care of an iPad or similar device?
Maybe I am looking back through the fog of time and not seeing the past too clearly. It could be that I did ask for comparably expensive gifts back in the day. It could be that the realization was that if we asked for a lot of smaller, less expensive gifts, then the gift opening would last longer. Or perhaps, back in those days, we didn't have the plethora of expensive gifts available to request. Either way, I am not sure today is best for the children.