I stumbled across this article today. Netflix, the great DVD mailing enterprise, is planning on cutting off it's DVD service and switching to a completely digital service, streaming movies to your TV. I'm guessing it's a purely economical decision; obviously it will be cheaper for them than purchasing and shipping disks. But I see it as yet another step toward a society obsessed with instant gratification. I no longer have to wait three days to see the movie I requested, I can have it right now.
But why not? I often make my children work for or wait for the things they want, telling myself I'm preparing them for 'the real world', in which they will frequently be required to do so. But will they? They are growing up in a world of texting, microwaves and credit card 'sticks' that you simply swipe over a sensor. It's improbable that they'll actually have to do much waiting at all. Society tells me there is nothing wrong with indulging my whims; that I am entitled to the things I want and that I deserve to have them now. Why then would I submit myself to the uncomfortable emotions associated with waiting? How could that be good for me?
Well, Romans 5:3-4 says "We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope." (Although my kids don't respond well when I tell them to glory in their sufferings.)
Ecclesiastes 7:8 "The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride."
Hebrews 6:12 "We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised."
Besides, waiting for something makes it all the more sweet. My husband and I recently talked about buying season passes to Disneyland. Our new home is a mere 20 minutes from the happiest place on earth. We were looking at taking the kids for a couple days and discovered that season passes weren't much more expensive. Really, economically, we might as well get the passes and have all our entertainment for the year wrapped up.
But I hesitate. We went to Disneyland once when I was a kid. I was probably 8 years old. I remember that trip vividly. I remember how hot it was. How I was afraid to go on the haunted house so I refused. How later when I decided I wanted to try it my mom wouldn't hike back across the park and the heaviness of that disappointment. The sugar crumbling off the churro that was such a treat. I recall details of that trip 20 some years later, and I savor them.
If we take our kids to Disneyland nine times this year, they won't remember a thing. It will become a casual thing; no big deal. And how in the world will we ever top it? I somehow doubt a day at the park will be enough to satisfy little ones who are used to a day riding the teacups.
I don't want to deny my kids the great pleasures of life. I do want to give my children the ability to savor and be satisfied with small pleasures.