SMART PARENTING: Bigger is not more


IT’S amazing how quickly we get used to something that we had previously thought would be the best thing we’d ever get.

Take for instance the television set. Just the other day, my family and I were enjoying a good movie on our relatively new flat screen TV set when one of the kids said: “We need a bigger TV. I cannot see all the action.”

The thing was, we were all so excited when we bought this TV set not so long ago. Back then, the comments we heard were “Wow, this TV is so awesome!” and “I feel like I’m watching a movie in the cinema!”

We were simply awed by the sheer size of the screen. The actions came alive and we even had to watch from a greater distance so that our eyes did not get all watery from the flashing screen. It sure beat the small images we used to watch on the old TV set. It had grown on us!

And today, barely two years later, I agree that the new TV set seems smaller. Yes, it all sounds familiar. Before we bought the 29-inch TV set, we were happily enjoying the 21-inch and I could not imagine how we had put up with the 14-inch screen before that!

That is just one of  our human traits - to adapt to a situation quickly and seamlessly - either for the better or for the worse. In this case, it seems that the overwhelming size of the last TV screen has become the new standard.

This may not be a bad thing if we use it correctly as it will mean we’ll be driven to do better. However, it also can cause us to be permanently stuck in the race for satisfaction through the acquisition of bigger and newer things. People will work harder so that they will be able to afford bigger houses and more luxurious cars. But while the need for bigger and newer possessions grows, this is not so when it comes to happiness.

The price we pay: Less time with the family and even less satisfaction with ourselves.
Need for bigger things

Soon after we have acquired all those better things, the cycle repeats itself. We see a bigger screen TV set on sale at the local store and suddenly that TV set at home does not seem big enough anymore. And the old car feels sluggish and inadequate in all departments.

Successful companies are those that succeed at making us feel dissatisfied with what we already have.

We really need to get out of this endless cycle of chasing after material wealth and equating it with happiness.We all have families, friends, close relatives and neighbours. Have we ever stopped to think we can find happiness when we spend time getting to know them better or helping them out in times of need? This is, in fact, a very powerful strategy to find that elusive happiness.

Better returns

We get bigger returns when we invest in family and friends instead of gadgets. Talking to the neighbours, watching the kids at play or listening to them tell you about what had happened at school is entertainment that we don’t have to pay for.

We may even learn a few tips or tricks that you won’t see on TV, not even on the educational channel. There are many real life feelings and emotions that we can experience through interacting with people that we will never get from television, no matter how big the screen is.

The real thing

Movies, documentaries or even soap operas can provide some value to our lives but they are no match for the real thing. Bigger TV sets allow us to watch shows in more colours than we can ever imagine but they do not guarantee greater happiness. Only healthy relationships with our loved ones and the important people in our lives can do so.

Their numbers and, hopefully, sizes may not change much over the years, but the happiness that they give us will grow, year after year, without the need to replace them with “bigger or newer” models.


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