Have you read the UNICEF report on Child Welfare in Developed countries? You can download it here. We are not doing very well for our kids, that's for sure. Take a look. (And then try to find an article in the New York Times about it and I'll eat my paintbrush. "All the news that's fit to print" indeed!) The gist of the UNICEF report is that an abundance of material goods does not guarantee that our children are happy and healthy. The US and England are at the bottom of the list in all aspects and Canada is right in the middle of the developed countries, not too good, but not the worst.
If you are interested in greed, desire, and the whole consumerist addiction cycle there are a lot of interesting papers on BuddhistPeaceFellowship.org about the manufacturing of desire. Buddhists have been interested in the questions of mind and greed for a long time. They even have wonderful cautionary tales about the realm of hungry ghosts, or pretas, which:
I could go on a bit but I've already written about consumerism and hungry ghosts here in the Journal Articles PDF.
...are probably the most vividly drawn metaphors in the Buddhist Wheel of Life. They are phantom-like creatures with withered limbs, grossly bloated bellies, and long, narrow needle-like necks. They demand impossible satisfactions so they have stretched necks---hungry and demanding the impossible. They are searching for gratification for old unfulfilled needs whose time has passed. Their ghost like state is representative of their attachment to the past. They live in past wants and desires.The modern word for preta is "consumer."
Instead of teaching kids to consume let's give kids what they need, lot's of art making time, puppets of their own devising, story telling, and spaciousness. Lots of spaciousness. See jaihn's spacious blog, look at recent posts and the spacious grove post where little wild pigs will live one day. Learn what is possible.
Inside the altered book Fairy Gifts (see last post) by Lani.
May you walk between the trees, may you create many celebrations, may you love without fear, may you create beautiful things, be unafraid to fly, and live deliberately.
May you never stop dreaming.
(paraphrased or altered from Off the Map)