All it takes though is a cursory inspection to realize that these items are more form than function. The backpacks are rarely well-made, they aren’t padded, they have few if no pockets and what they can carry is minimal. The lunch boxes are pretty much the same; small, limited and poorly constructed. But they are oh so desirable. Plus you run the risk that what’s cool today will be embarrassing in two -weeks time.
Spotting a Pokémon backpack, Caidin dragged me over to look at them the other day. Fortunately, in part due to his maturity and in part due to eight years of enforcing savvy consumer practices and explaining all of my decisions and choices when we shop, he wasn’t too crestfallen when I said ‘no’. I didn’t offer a flat out ‘no’. I had him take a look at the backpack and we talked about what it could hold, how it would hold up and what it would be like to carry it. After studying it, Caidin said ‘Ya, no, that wouldn’t be a good backpack.’
This led us into a conversation about why ‘they’ would make these backpacks in the first place.
I explained to Caidin that in business the goal is to get people to buy what you sell. I suggested he first think about his own reaction to seeing the display of backpacks and then spend a few minutes just watching the kids coming into the store and noticing their reaction. So we did and he said to me ‘wow, they really want these. Is this what dad means when he says desire and compulsion?’ Yep. That’s what he means.
Big words for an eight-year old, I know, but with Caidin, a simple explanation is never enough. He wants to truly understand the reasons behind things and in explaining things in detail, we find ourselves using complex words and thoughts, which he then also wants explained.
This shows you though, how you can use situations like this to teach and explain rather than making it become an ‘either you get it to appease’ or you just say ‘no’ situation.
It is important for kids to feel good going back to school, so I have an option for you: rather than saying yes to an impractical backpack or lunchbox, explain why those aren’t good choices and offer a more practical way (a t-shirt, or hat, or hoodie) that will allow your child to be a part of the current trend. You’ll pay less, they’ll actually love wearing it and when the fad is over, the item can be relegated to weekend wear or dress-up clothes for the stuffed panda.
We left with a really cool, if I do say so myself, Avengers hoodie. It’s so cool, that if Caidin was just a little bigger, I’d be borrowing it.
© 2012 Christine Agro
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Christine Agro is a Clairvoyant, Naturopath, Master Herbalist, Conscious Mom and Author of 50 Ways to Live Life Consciously as well as of The Conscious Living Wisdom Cards (Special Moms’ Edition). Christine is founder of The Conscious Mom’s Guide , a membership site where she helps support you on your own journey of living life consciously and on your journey of being a Conscious parent. You can also join Christine on Facebook. To contact Christine, invite her to speak or to schedule an appointment with her please email her.