This is a phrase every parent hears constantly: I want, I want, I want…
When my kids were very young, every time they would say “I want” or “Can I have”, I would mentally add it to their “want” list. At Christmas and birthdays, this is the list we would pick from. Did they get everything on their list? OH HECK NO! Some of those things were crazy! I used to write it down, and then have them pick the one thing from the list that they REALLY wanted – but that didn't last long, it simply didn't work for us. So, Jeff and I just held on to those mental notes. As the kids grew, statements like “I want” started getting answered with “Why do you think you deserve it”? This helped the kids understand that just because you want something, doesn’t mean they were entitled to it. Here is where I'm going to upset some of our readers... Ask my kids and they will tell you that one of my favorite sayings to them was "Nothing in life is free." I don't believe everyone should get a trophy anymore than I think kids should get everything they ask for - period! If you want something, you darn well better deserve it. As they grew even older, “Can I have…” started to be answered with “What are you willing to do for it?” Again, nothing is free - you want it, then work for it.
Now, fast forward to all adult children. We of course still buy them presents at Christmas and birthdays. Even throughout the year, we get things we think they need or things we think they will like, if we feel it is warranted.
The “wants” now though are for me and Jeff. So, we ask ourselves – Do we NEED it? How hard are we willing to WORK for it? The questions are a bit different, but hey – we’re adults, not kids waiting for presents. Also, our ‘wants’ are a bit more extreme than a video game or new clothes. Currently, our want is a bigger piece of property - this is going to take some time, but we are willing to work for it :)
Okay, I know what your thinking – everyone, including you our dear reader, knows how to prioritize and focus on needs versus wants. But do we REALLY list those things out anymore? Actually sit down and plan out these things? I know many of us think we do, and many of us think it’s not necessary. You would be surprised how different things look when you see it in writing.
So, just a quick thought on your own wants and needs. Make your want list; Then ask yourself:
1. Do you NEED it?
a. If so, when do you need it?
b. Why do you need it?
2. What has to happen for you to get it?
a. Something (example: Money)
b. Something else (example: Time)
c. More somethings (keep going until you list everything needed to get your want)
3. Are you willing to WORK for it?
a. If so, can you physically and mentally handle it? (Be honest… we aren’t super-human after all)
b. If so, can those around you handle it? (Take this one very seriously – your stress effects others more than you may realize)
You might surprise yourself when you get to the third step.
Turns out, there are several things we thought we ‘needed’ but realized that only the most important ones were worth working extra for whereas the other things weren’t as important as I thought. Anyway, I’m only human and cannot do more than humanly possible – I’ll get to those other ‘wants’ later. 😊