THE BASIS POINT

An 8 Year Old Explains Need vs. Want

Here’s a conversation I overheard while passing a 30-something mother and her 8-to-10 year old daughter on a hike today. It’s a good lesson in reality. You choose which reality.

Daughter: I really need this new stuffed bear.

Mom: Maybe we should talk about the definitions of need and want. Can you tell me what they mean?

Daughter: Need is when you need something. Want is when you want something.

Mom: Well … a need is something you must have … for survival.

Daughter: Ummmm, meh.

Then I was out of earshot.

Hats off to the mom for showing her daughter how to think about things the right way, but there’s no right and wrong most of the time, there’s only negotiation.

The daughter wasn’t being petulant. It was a perfectly civilized conversation, but mom’s Maslow lesson has little to do with adult reality. Leave it to a child to remind us of this.

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