If is Not That Big

If, if, if.. I’m sure we have all heard the saying that if is the biggest word in the English language. If is a word of second thoughts daydreams, wonder, and lego.

BR, my 8-year-old has become obsessed with lottery tickets. I know, I know that is not a good thing for a child. It has been the subject of arguments between, he and I, he and his mother, and my wife and I. I’d like to blame my wife for turning our son into a compulsive gambler. Why do I want to blame her – you may be wondering? Well, I believe it is true to an extent. She also enjoys playing the lottery. He has seen her play, asked about what she was doing, and begged to scratch off the ticket himself. Experiencing the thrill of victory even if it is for as little as two dollars sends his little body into a frenzy of excitement. I have to admit that part is cute. However, I have to acknowledge my role in creating the gambler as well. I don’t go in for the scratch offs – I’m into Mega Millions. I dream of fortunes. My son has noted these dreams – not getting my complete lack of expectation – and has fed off of it. While he does not enjoy playing this form of the lottery, he does share the dream.

My wife and I have discussed what to do about our little Jimmy the Greek. Unfortunately, we are not completely on the same page as to the extent of the problem (must be shocking to all of you who have perfect marriages – completely in sync with each other). However, we do agree and are working to curb BR’s enthusiasm for the lottery. I suppose you could say he is on a multistep program designed to wean him of his obsession.

Most people who play the lottery dream of the ensuing riches. What would I do? Hmmm. Well, I asked BR what would he want to do with his lottery winnings? His first answer is buy Lego sets. Now, that’s an 8-year-old response. He goes on to add to his list an i-pad and i-pod. Now, that’s an 8-year-old’s response in 2012.

SJ, my 5-year-old, is not obsessed with the lottery. Shew, that’s a relief. However, he dreams of treasure. Before our vacation, he mentioned to me that he was excited to dig on the beach with the hopes of finding a treasure. When asked what he hoped to find in the treasure, his answer was Thomas Trains and Lego Duplo. Now, that’s a 5-year-old response. His next answer was money which he said he would give to the poor people and buy Thomas Trains.

So, my boys dream of ifs. They want toys, technology, etc. I am fine with that. However, I don’t want them to rely on ifs like the lottery and lost treasure to fulfill their dreams. Go to school, gain knowledge, and work hard – that is a recipe for reaching many ifs.

13 thoughts on “If is Not That Big

  1. I enjoyed reading this. My five-year-old is not too obsessed with scratcher’s tickets, but when my husband does bring them home, his little eyes light up and he grabs his special penny (yes, he has his own lucky scratcher’s ticket penny…. Don’t judge!) and can’t seem to scratch away fast enough to see if he’s won. We want him to dream big, but I agree that a better plan is through hard work at school and career rather than turning into a complete gambler.

  2. I love the Jimmy the Greek reference!! And yes, my husband and I would differ in our responses – I’d be envisioning 12-step programs in my child’s future; Mike would think it was adorable and harmless. Love how you are discussing it with your boys – their responses are priceless!

    • You mean you have disagreements with you spouse too? Wow.
      Anyway, in this case, I am more like you – though not quite as extreme.
      It is funny to hear of their lottery dreams. However, my older son has already said he wants to save $ for a car. An 8-yr-old — you believe it?

  3. We don’t gamble, except for the occasional 100M megamillions ticket that you can’t help but take your chance on. But I’m a huge dreamer. My life is full of ifs. Full of big dreams. And impossible wishes. Its hard to teach your children to be grounded, to work hard, when your own head is digging for treasures.

    Best of luck.

  4. Hi,
    Again, I chuckled at the if of your sons, but I don’t think you have to worry too much. Even I as a kid had dreams of winning a lottery, but I don’t play the lottery now as an adult. To be very honest with you, my dad played the numbers. He won big every now and then, but his playing never encouraged me to want to play the numbers or the lottery. You see, for some reason or another, I looked at the times when he didn’t win and I thought of the money that he would not get back on return and decided that I would rather keep my money and buy a book or my first piano, instead of playing numbers. That mindset I got at the age of eight. Don’t ask me how, because it was surely not taught to me. I believe it came from me watching the disappointed faces of my dad and the neighbors who did not win but kept playing. So, maybe the boys need to see your expressions when you don’t win. Maybe, it will help them to understand that lottery or whatever is legal gambling that his highly speculative with no guarantee of winning, and that they can get their high tech devices, lego and whatever much quicker by saving their money.
    Thank you for this very honest view of something that you and your wife are debating over in your family. You have shared a part of you and I appreciate that. Believe me, when I say no marriage is perfect, at least mines isn’t.
    I really enjoyed this article.

  5. Your wife sounds similar to my husband. If I look in his wallet at any time, I will always find find a lottery ticket or two. I don’t like to gamble. Wasting money is not fun for me even if the payout may be huge. My boys do not talk much about quick winnings…thank goodness. But they do talk about getting rich. The good news is they plan on working to make a lot of money. That kind of money earning I can deal with.

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