I am trying to instill in my daughter the non-consumer mentality. She understands at a certain level that commercials are meant to make you want to buy things, even if you don’t need them or like them. However, when the influence is coming from her friends, this is much more difficult to combat.
The recent rise of Webkinz in the neighborhood is exactly of the issue. There are five little girls in the neighborhood my daughter is regularly in contact with, and each of them has at least 10 Webkinz (I am not exaggerating, I asked them). These animals, at approximately $15.00 each, have an additional online “life” where you can go and play games.
I am sure that each of these animals is not treasured for what they are, but rather as part of a lot that has degenerated into a status symbol based on quantity.
We found out early in my daughter’s life about how quantity leads to overwhelm. When she first showed an interest in the Fischer Price Sweet Street dollhouses, everyone started giving them to her. And she stopped playing with her toys entirely because it was too much effort to put them all up and put them away. This has been repeated with Barbies, art supplies, and stuffed animals.
And I’m as guilty as the rest, I must admit. I have been unable to resist items I know she will like, particularly books and toy animals.
The lesson I am hoping she will learn is that she will treasure one, where a dozen will lose their charms as part of a group. I am hoping she will learn that happiness is not gained by consumption. But I don’t know if that is possible in today’s world.
Photo by Cayusa