Olivia Newport iPhoneMy daughter was perfectly happy with her Blackberry until I came home with an iPhone.

As soon as she held it, she ooed. When she saw the feast of apps that come pre-installed, she aahed. The bright colors. The crispness. The sleekness.

Now, this is me dragging into the twenty-first century. The phone I had was ancient enough that a data package was optional and I frugally opted not to carry one all these years. But it had “battery fatigue,” and it didn’t have the oomph to communicate with the blue tooth function of my new hearing aids. It kept quitting by mid-morning, and that was that.

So a new phone was in order, and, since I hadn’t cashed in any upgrades in eons, the iPhone 4 was free.

Why not? (Yes, I know this means I will have to pay for the data package. But lucky for you, that means we can connect any time.)

My daughter reminded me that she has a birthday coming up. (Hey, I remember. I was there.) And she is passing an educational milestone this spring, as well as a noteworthy employment achievement. So she figures I can give her the $99 iPhone as a combined gift that covers all occasions.

“I know you don’t have a lot of money,” she said. “This will actually save you money.”

Daughters. What are you gonna do?

She doesn’t need a new phone. The Blackberry is not all that old and works fine.

What makes us wish for more than we need? We all do it. How swiftly we go from being happy with what we have to envying what someone else has.

Greed is seductive, isn’t it? Most of the time we don’t even feel ourselves sliding over the line. The next thing we know, we’ve justified a new purchase, a new toy, a new habit. And it’s not greed or envy anymore; it’s just what we need.

I’m not judging specific choices—mine or anyone else’s. (I like new stuff as much as the next person.) I’m just raising the question. Are we content—grateful, even—for what we have? Do we carefully consider whether a choice feeds the greed impulse?

Maybe it’s not a bad thing if every now and then we take stock of what we say we value and whether we live out those values in our choices.

• What decision have you made recently that genuinely made your life better?






Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Print


  1. Jennifer K. Hale on the March 5, 2012 remarked #

    Greed IS seductive– you are so right about that, Olivia! Recently my hubby and I decided to sponsor a child through WorldHelp and it has changed our thinking about what we have and how to help our children understand how blessed they are and how they can help others. It’s given us a global mind for the needs faced every day by millions of kids. In fact, that’s what I blogged about today. 🙂

    • Olivia on the March 5, 2012 remarked #

      You are doing a good thing, Jennifer! One of my sweetest memories of when my kids were little is my son with a $5 bill of his own money and filling out a form to give it to a literacy program our church was running so other kids could learn to read. It does become a challenge to keep reinforcing that value as they older and exposed to so much STUFF.

  2. Cecilia Marie Pulliam on the March 10, 2012 remarked #

    Yes, good question, Olivia. Sometimes needs are really only wants disguised as needs. You are right, it is a good idea to stop and analyze what is really a need or a want.

Leave a Comment