On the way to Homelink this morning:
"You know what really bugs me about (friend's name)? He always finds something to complain about."
"Like what, Samuel?" I ask (curious because complaining about one's horrid lot in life seems to be a cornerstone of all the 11-year olds around me.)
"Well, when I was at his house yesterday I said something like, 'Wow, this football game looks really good on your t.v.!' And all he could do was say, 'It's okay, but it's blotchy in spots.' I mean, he has a brand new 55" wide screen t.v.! How can he find a problem with it already?"
This is a constant source of anguish for Samuel, since he would really, really like it if we bought a huge flat-screen t.v., too. We've spent a lot of time talking about where our money goes, needs vs. wants, etc. He knows that we are choosing to spend money on a quarter of beef instead of a replacement for a t.v. that, although small and deep, still works.
"You could just ignore it when he complains, you know. All of us find things to complain about but that doesn't need to mean that you can't be his friend. You complain a lot but we still love you."
"Well, next time he complains about his t.v., I'm going to say, 'Yeah, it really sucks that your t.v. isn't all it's cracked up to be. The kid in Indonesia standing on a street corner selling toilet paper with nowhere to sleep would really be sympathetic.'"
This opened up a nice discussion of what really makes us happy: things, or experiences and people. Of course I was the only one discussing it as we rounded the corner into the parking lot. I know he's parroting some of our over-the-top arguments which I had always assumed fell on deaf ears, but it was gratifying to hear that he could see the irony in the situation of his friend not appreciating that which he has so longed for.
Maybe it was the nice cup of hot tea he had for breakfast? I'll start all his days with it...