Thanks to the creation of DVDs and Netflix a parent can now allow their kids the freedom to watch their favorite princess or superhero without the bombardment of commercials. For those without kids this means very little. To those of us with kids it means no more; “I want that” while watching cartoons. This is big, especially when you flashback to our own childhood when Saturday morning cartoons were simply a way for vendors to hawk their wares on little kids and stress their parents out with the latest and greatest play sets and dolls.
So you can imagine my surprise when my oldest comes running to me to ask for some random toy from some random movie that we’ve not even seen. “Mom, I have to have this. It’s so cool!” I asked what the toy was, what its purpose was and why she felt she ‘needed’ it. In the end it was simply another piece of plastic that was overpriced and required I also buy the companion video so she’d better understand the character.
“Child, you don’t even know this character. Why do you ‘have to have it’?”
There was a long pause and feet shuffling; “The man in the commercial said so.”
“The movie you’re watching also says you can walk on rainbows. Can you do that?”
“I think you have enough stuff. Perhaps at Christmas, if you’re still interested we can get it.”
“But I want it.”
“And I understand that. But you don’t need it and right now we have to focus on need.”
“Then I need it.”
I laughed at the quick response from my then 4-year old. She smiled back and thought she’d just won the argument but it was then that I realized she was old enough for me to explain the difference between wants and needs.