My son threw a tantrum in the store today. I told him he could not have a toy, but he could have the book we had already picked out. He freaked out. He wanted both. So we left the store without getting anything. Literally nothing. We left the full cart in the middle of the store. It was hard for both of us. I hate being the bad guy.
Of course, I am supposed to be the adult. I am supposed to be helping my son learn self control and how to make good decisions. I would love to buy him all the toys he desires, but even if I could afford to do that, I won’t. He doesn’t “deserve” that many toys. He doesn’t need that many toys. He doesn’t even play with all the toys he has. And he needs to learn that in this life none of us get everything we want, let alone everything we need. What can I say, life isn’t fair.
Yet he is a good kid. I am not too worried about this minor bump in his development as a kid. And I’m sure he’ll have more “bumps” just like he’s been through bumps before.
He recently saved all the money he earned for three months so he could pay for half of a big Lego set. Every time we would look at toys he would make the decision to delay his gratification because he wanted the big Lego set more than whatever thing he had in his hand. And when that Lego set went on sale he had already saved enough money so he could take advantage of the lower price.
As guitarists, how often does our Guitar Acquisition Syndrome sound exactly the same as my son’s recent Toy Acquisition Syndrome tantrum? Are we exerting self control in our buying habits? Do we have a specific guitar purchase we are focused on while not getting distracted by whatever thing we have in our hand? Do we save our resources so when the deal finally comes we are ready to take advantage of it or are we just taking advantage of whatever deal comes our way because it is just gear? Are we playing the guitar gear we already own?
Do we “deserve” all that gear or do we tell ourselves that we didn’t buy that vintage 50’s gold top Les Paul so, hey, we actually saved money this year?!? Then we can buy whatever item we have in our hands. Do we fill our spaces with whatever gear we can get our hands on?
Based on my experience (and yours may differ), but I bet we are just a little too much like my son. We have our good times and our tantrums. We have the things we save for and buy within our desires and we have our versions of being carried kicking and screaming out of the store. Hopefully we are using the supposed maturity and decision making that comes with not being a 5 year old anymore, but I am not always convinced (anyone watch the evening news lately). And who are we forcing to be our “parent” to keep us in check and tell us we can have one or the other, but not both? Is that fair to them? Are we making someone else teach us that we don’t always get what we want, let alone get what we need? Or are we letting life and our own discipline do that? It’s a bit cliche, but here you go.
Let’s try to be better than the little kids we claim to no longer be.