A few weeks ago, I wrote about what we want. Today we look at what we need, and the difference between the two. Language matters, and if we’re looking to be fulfilled, we need to understand where our needs end our wants begin.
Example: The Smithsonian has held a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to preserve the shoes worn by Judy Garland in the “Wizard of OZ”. So far they have raised over $300,000 and have announced a stretch goal to preserve the scarecrow’s costume.
Example: This segment from the Today Show. In it, we are introduced to a smart changing pad ($250), which will not only provide a place for you to change your baby, but will also weigh your child and take several other measurements giving you any number of reasons to cal your pediatrician because your child is not EXACTLY on schedule. There is also a self-installing carseat ($500), which all auto-level and auto-tension the seat for you. And finally there is this, the SNOO Smart Sleeper, a baby bed for $1,160. Here are excerpts from some of the reviews of this final product:
- “If she did wake normally one push of the button would help her settle back down.”
- “I felt like I was finally human again because I not [sic] longer had to rock and shush her to sleep in the middle of the night – the SNOO did it for me!!!”
- “Where would we be without Snoo? Tired. Very tired.”
These products seem to be more for the parents than the child. I have kids. I know tired. I’ve been in the spot, holding two babies (I have twins.), where one threw up on me, and the other was sleeping. So I sat in throw up for a little while. It’s just what you do. You are supposed to be tired because that is part of the journey of recognizing your life is now about more than you.
Dorothy’s slippers do not need to be preserved. We want to preserve them. We don’t need self-installing carseats. We want them. But we need to be clear that the wants do not automatically fulfill the needs.
We want our lives to be easier, and the reality is life is not easy. Restoring Dorothy’s slippers will not magically transport us back to a peaceful time in Kansas where everything was perfect. A $1,000 baby bed will not protect your child from being bullied or being lonely as an adolescent.
Understanding the difference between needs and wants is a strong step in finding contentment.