When I was a child, I spoke like a child. I thought like a child. I reasoned like a child. (Apparently, that’s from the Bible). And I wanted childish things. I wanted sea monkeys and snow days. Naps and hockey cards. Stacks of hockey cards. I never put a lot of thought into money.
In hockey news last week, Pekka Rinna of the Nashville Predators was signed to a deal worth 49 million dollars over 7 years. 49 MILLION DOLLARS. That’s a lot of hockey cards. And it got me to thinking…
Forty-nine million dollars is a lot of pocket money.
The Children’s Society in the UK recently completed a report detailing the well-being of children. The researchers asked 5000 kids between the ages of 8 and 15 what mattered to them most. The answers weren’t too surprising: iPods, designer trainers, cable TV, and “the right clothes” topped the list. And what was at number one? Pocket money. That one surprised me.
I can see why a kid would need some spending money, but for it to be number one caught me a little off-guard. Then I thought, kids need spending money for the same reasons adults need spending money — to fill the void. We’re all looking for the latest Tickle Me Elmo.
That bigger, better toy.
The report also mentions that children feel they are missing out if they see their friends with possessions that they themselves do not have. They feel deprived. They feel like they don’t fit in. Sound like anyone you know? It’s keeping up with the Joneses, on an elementary school scale.
Seems kids are more like adults than we give them credit for.
We’ve all been to school at some point in our lives, and we’ve all struggled with fitting in. Adult life for most is not that much different. We’re just bigger kids, with more expensive toys, trying to impress the other big kids on our block.
Instead of iPods, we want iPads.
Instead of Furbys, we want furs.
Instead of hockey cards, we want season’s tickets.
The writer Alain d Botton has a different take. He said,
I’d go even a step further. It’s not only the rewards we want, it’s the experiences those material possessions afford us. Whether shooting down that mountain with our overpriced ski equipment, or racing across the seas in a fully outfitted catamaran, it’s that “feeling” we’re after.
Whatever the underlying cause, it’s not all doom and gloom for kids though. In that same Children’s Society study, one thing that did make it in the Top 10 was a family vacation at least once a year.
There’s hope yet.