So Many Stores — So Little I Wanted

Number 8 on my list of Fun Things To Do With My Daughter is — Shop at Woodfield Mall and each spend $10 or less on something for our walls (My daughter for her bedroom, me for the basement) and eat lunch.

I was working at home today. My chief task was to develop an opening activity for a lesson I’m writing for junior highers on 1 Timothy 6:10-11: For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

I’ve already written several lessons in the series, and I was having trouble coming up with a new idea. And then it hit me — I can take my own junior higher to the Mecca of Materialism and see how she responds while at the same time watching other teens.

There was nothing sneaky about this. My daughter and I read the verses before we left and discussed what they meant. She knew up front that she had a $10 spending limit. We got to the mall around noon.  We walked around the lower level first. I realized early on that findingsomething I wanted would be a challenge. It’s not the Woodfield I grew up with. There are no bookstores, no map stores, nothing of any sort that I was much interested in. Apparently, it now targets teens and young women almost exclusively.

We walked all the way around the mall on the lower level, then went to A&W for lunch. My daughter had a hot dog and onion rings with a root beer float. I had a cheeseburger with onion rings and a regular root beer. I was taking a picture while we were waiting in line to order. The woman in front of us turned around. She didn’t seem to mind getting her picture taken.

We took our time and consumed our grease, then walked around on the upper level. The pickings were pretty sparse, but we finally focused on Windy City Gifts, a shop that specialized in Chicago-themed items. My daughter was very excited about a Bears’ license plate. I struggled to find anything I wanted even a little bit. (I felt that I had to buy something in order to meet the requirements of the list.) I ended up with a Wrigley Field magnet. Total cost for the two items combined: $10.31.

We made one last stop at Mrs. Fields. My daughter bought a cherry Icee. I bought a chocolate-chip cookie, half of which immediately fell on the floor when I took it out of the bag. With that, we left for home, having successfully completed number 8 on the list.

And what about my lesson? you ask. Well, I’m thinking of an opening that points out how you can be totally content without a given item until you see it — then be certain that you can’t live without it. What can you do at that moment to regain your contentment?

My daughter got the point. There were three or four occasions while we were walking around when she saw something and started to say how badly she needed and wanted it. But each time she caught herself and said “never mind” or “but that’s OK.” At the end of the day, she proclaimed herself completely happy with her license plate and thanked me for a fun time. We escaped from Woodfield, having spent less than $30 on food and stuff. I suspect we may have set a record. I know I didn’t see anyone her age that wasn’t carrying at least one bag.

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