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Where Do We Find Contentment?

John Rosemond, a funny nationally syndicated columnist—and also a family psychologist—likes to take unusual informal polls of parents. Whenever he's in a foreign culture, he'll ask parents, "Do your kids complain about boredom?" Without exception he's always been told no outside of this country. In fact, parents in other cultures look at him with incredulity, as if to say: Boredom and kids just don't go together!

Rosemond also likes to question parents who raised their kids in the forties and fifties. He asks: "When you were raising your kids back then, did you hear them complain about boredom?" The typical response: "Rarely."

In another of his little surveys, Rosemond asks middle-aged parents, "How many toys did you have growing up?" The answers range from zero to ten, but mostly these folks respond with something like, "Toys? We took a cardboard box, and we made something out of it." In contrast, Rosemond says the typical American child of five years of age has accumulated 250 toys! Now, since five-year-olds have only lived for 260 weeks, they're apparently accumulating almost one toy per week. They're bored.

So where does contentment come from? Does it come from having more toys? From going to more movies? From eating out more often? From enlarging our wardrobes? From escape of any kind?

No, contentment comes from within. It's an internal disposition, and we know it. We just don't live as if we know it.

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