Monday, May 23, 2011

Wants or Needs ?

Lately people I interact with seem to have a flawed understanding of the crucial difference between these two words and moreso the concept behind what each one represents.  People seem to use both words interchangeably, which is not only a poor use of the English language, but is also a terrible injustice for truth-seekers.

The word WANT is defined as this:
to wish, crave, demand, or desire.

The word NEED is defined as this:
a requirement, necessary duty, or obligation.

A few examples:
 - You don't NEED a brand new car with all kinds of special features and an outrageous monthly payment.  You WANT that.  You "need" suitable transportation to and from your destinations.  Bus, car-pool, or an old beater car would all meet your "needs."
 - You don't NEED more time off from work.  This is something you WANT, but likely not something you are willing to sacrifice your income to get.  You "need" to balance your work and life better, along with be more stringent in your budget if you want to be able to work less and be with you family more.
 - You think your spouse or partner NEEDS to treat you better, but to be perfectly honest you may need to adjust your expectations.  It is highly unlikely your wedding vows included the phrase "wait on them hand and foot, take them out to dinner every night, and disavow any interest in anything besides them."

I do not believe this is a generational thing where these Gen-Y kids (who typically have a greater sense of entitlement than any prior generation) are the only violators.  I interact with many people from the Baby Boomer or Silent generations and some of them are worse off than any Gen-Y person I'm in regular contact with.  The difference is that this error in the ability to decipher between wants and needs is easier to correct earlier in life, before patterns of behavior are set more permanently.

So here are a few notes to my children who will one day read this (some much sooner than later):
 - You did not NEED brand new clothes every school year.  You needed clothes that fit, and your mother and I always provided those (and your aunts, uncles, and grandparents too!)
 - You did not NEED a cell phone in grade school ... or middle school ... or until you were of driving age!  Yes, all your friends might have one, but I'd bet their parents sometimes regret that decision.
 - You did not NEED to have lavish birthday parties at expensive play areas.  You will be better off for understanding the value of money and seeing it not wasted for a "name brand party."  I think your friends had just as much fun at the pool or having a sleepover at our house or whatever we ended up doing.
 - You do not NEED a car!  When you WANT a car bad enough to pay for it (including gas, insurance, maintenance, etc.) you will have one.  Be grateful that your mother and I let you borrow our car(s) as often as we did let you use them.
 - You NEED our love and support.  And that you will ALWAYS have, even when you make bad decisions based on things you want.  Your mother and I NEED you to know that we love you!

And here's one of my favorite Progressive shirts ...
This shirt was from our Diversity Art Show
in 2009.  On the left sleeve it reads
"About the Right of Being Different"
which was the name of the art show.

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