Has your brain ever been so saturated with thoughts that you render it useless? That’s what happened to me when I saw a bumper sticker on a car that read, “She who dies with the most jewels wins.” It evoked so many emotions all I could clearly think was, Ahhhh.
When that went away, my next thought was That is precisely the kind of attitude that contributed to all the dark stuff of 2009. If my kids had been with me, they would have looked at me, rolled their eyes, and said something like It’s just a bumper sticker, mom.
I know it’s just a bumper sticker. And I know that the driver is probably not on a mission to gather all the jewels she can get before she dies. But words mean something. And the clear message here is that what’s important in life is the accumulation of stuff.
Our kids are exposed to these kinds of messages on a daily basis. They see celebrities in huge houses driving fancy cars. Or their friends buying (with their parents’ money) the latest technology. It’s impossible to watch t.v., take a ride in a car, or chat with your friends on Facebook without stuff being peddled to us. We are a consumerist culture. Which is not a bad thing…unless we become consumed by it.
So what do we parents do? We do double-duty to counter the hundreds of spend, accumulate more, focus on stuff messages our kids get sent each and every day. It’s up to us. Otherwise, unknowingly, our kids may develop an unhealthy attitude towards money.
How do we do double-duty? We talk with our kids about the messages being sent via bumper stickers, billboards, t.v., etc. We ask them if they know what the message means? We ask them if they agree or disagree and why. We ask them what kind of life they would need to live in order to die with the most jewels. And we find out what the important things in their lives really are. Those will enrich their lives far more than a chest full of jewels.
So what kind of car was Ms. Jewels driving? A Mercury Sable. Does that matter? No. I’m just sayin’