Station life: Christmas shopping triggers instant gratification worry

Shopping Cart Full of Christmas Presents
Camera IconShopping Cart Full of Christmas Presents Credit: Fuse/Getty Images/Fuse, Fuse

I’m in the city and just had my first foray into Christmas shopping.

I started with a small local shopping centre and browsed my way around, trying to find inspiration as to what to buy the family.

No matter how old my kids get, I can never resist a glance through the toy section as I think of the excitement of little ones on Christmas Day. One little chap, dummy in mouth, barely walking, had a firm grip on a Matchbox car hung at the perfect toddler level.

The temptation was obviously too much for him. He wasn’t making a fuss, just standing there until mum came along to collect him — and the toy.

Then, much to my surprise, mum opened up the packet and handed the toy to the little fellow.

Now I’m not making a judgment on what she did — it’s none of my business — but what it did stir in me was a thought around patience. I’m probably one of the worst people when it comes to patience. I don’t have a lot, but mine is more around waiting for someone who is late or waiting for someone who is meant to be doing something for me.

Social media and the internet haven’t done anything to stem my impatience because they make me think everything should happen so much quicker. Send an email and expect a reply in five minutes.

Post something on social media and expect replies instantly. It’s the world we live in.

So what are we teaching our children from a very young age when we hand them something the minute they ask for it?

We are teaching them their every wish should be granted the minute they make it. They are learning to be entitled and that their wishes should come first.

The lesson they are receiving is that everything must happen immediately. Maybe it’s time we adults (I include myself) relearned the art of patience to pass it on to the younger generation. Show them the pleasure that can be gained by waiting for something, that sometimes you appreciate more what you don’t get immediately and that patience really can be a virtue worth having.

I’m pretty hopeless at keeping new year’s resolutions but maybe I’ll make an attempt in 2021 to slow down the pace a little and start putting a little bit of patience back into life.

Get the latest news from in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails