Last night my youngest child was sitting in our room watching TV as I did some editing. A commercial for a new car came on and I watched it without really watching it.
My son, however, he paid attention.
"Dad, why do people always want to get new cars?"
It's an extremely honest question coming from a child who wants nothing but understanding.
"Well," I said thinking about new cars. "People get and want new cars for many different reasons. Sometimes they want a safe car, or their cars are old and worn out. Sometimes they want something really nice because they like how they feel driving a really nice car, or to have something nicer than what other people drive."
The comment was sort of a throw away one for me. I mean, I just said it without thinking too much about it. That's when my son said, "Our cars are good. I like our cars."
That made me stop and think. We have two vehicles, a van that seats everyone and my little compact that does not. My car is three years older than the van and neither car is driven very much--taking the bus to and from work everyday and homeschooling helps with that. They're both built by Toyota and both have years and miles still left in them.
But are they "good?" In his eyes, yes, they are.
I try to not do things that can bring me down. I've found that comparing myself to others is one of the quickest ways to ruin my day. And when I slip and do it, I get mad at myself because when it's all said and done, comparing myself to others is basically a huge waste of time. I could look at my cars and see all the faults, all the problems. My car has no hubcaps--one by one they fell off. And one door is not like the others and the desire to fix this issues hasn't been worth the cost for me to do it.
The van's got issues too, though minor, we can always find reasons for wanting something better, something newer, something flashier. Humans--especially adults--are great at doing that. But to a child, he doesn't care what color the doors are, or that there's a small ding in a side panel that occurred when we drove it into the garage. To him, the cars have always started and taken him where he wants to go. We do have good cars and the best part, they're paid for.
My little comment turned out to be a learning experience after all. Except, it was me that did the learning.