Kids love birthdays. They are pretty much told that they should. It’s a frustrating expectation and it doesn’t make much sense. If you don’t have fun the whole day is ruined and your parents worked so hard to give you a great day! They ask you what you want for your birthday, you think really hard about it and expect that is exactly what you are going to get! You open the gifts and guess what? They aren’t what you asked for at all. What the hell? Now I’m supposed to be thankful? But you asked me what I wanted! Why would you ask if you aren’t going to get it for me?! *Insert temper tantrum here*
This is why age seven was a natural place to address Greed in 7 Deadly Birthdays. Maddie is selfish, temperamental and will get what she wants by any means necessary. To her this isn’t Greed; it’s just getting what she asked for in the first place. Yet Maddie is also struggling to understand the religious experience she is being forced into. This is far more than the average seven year old has to deal with. Not only do you have to deal with learning to understand basic human interaction and rules, you have to consider sins and religious boundaries. Like the thought of going to Hell. Quite a bit to process don’t you think?
Like Maddie, I got a lesson in Greed very early on. The first thing I ever stole was a single balloon from a dollar store. I was maybe seven and I can remember picking it up and immediately wanting to see it blown up to full size. It was bright red and it had stars on it. I wanted it, therefore, it was mine! I loved balloons; every kid does, so I simply put it in the stroller next to my little brother. Later of course, my mother discovered it. This was an item that you had to pay for, she said. It was something you had to “purchase” and it was not “mine” until after something called a “transaction”. The logic was completely lost on me. I got a lecture that totally went over my head. I was left pouty, confused and without my cool balloon.
I’d like to say that I never stole again and that I learned my lesson…but I can’t. If anything I learned that once you take the thing you want but aren’t supposed to have, you hide it and you hide it really, really well. After all, you can only improve once you know what you are doing wrong. Right?