1 Timothy 6:10 states that the love of money is the root of all evil. Not that having money itself is bad – it’s in the LOVING of it – the obsession with it – where we go wrong. Life with Bryan is not always roses and sunshine and heart-tugging lessons. His recent struggle with spending has me reeling.
Sometimes it’s difficult as a parent to know what to do when a tough situation arises. Here is our latest dilemma: Bryan has begun a dangerous routine. Every Wednesday, he and his staff venture out into the community – one of his goals. However, for the last 2-3 months, those trips end up in a store or two. Once in the store, Bryan feels the need to buy things which he doesn’t really need, but wants. The credit card and debit card offer a quick fix to feed his compulsion to spend. Inserting that card in the chip reader is easy and mindless. It is abstract. There is a false sense that the money behind the card is endless. Therein lies the danger.
Bryan has no sense of how much money is in his bank account. Yes, we had a limit on his card, but that was recently raised. I will need to lower that spending ceiling immediately. His Wednesday spending now tops $200-300 per week. The latest Capital One bill was over $1000. Numerous purchases of small items add up fast. Are these necessities? Absolutely not. But I think Bryan gets an adrenaline rush and a feeling of “adultness” when buying things for himself. Call it intensive “retail therapy”!
The little lap desk pictured above was an example of a practical purchase which he can really put to good use as he does his daily writings. He can also take it in the car when we go on trips, perching his I-pad on top to watch movies. I applauded him that purchase. However, as we do not live together and spend much time in each other’s company, his daily spending is out of my control. Those smaller, unnecessary purchases continue to add up.
As Bryan’s team reminds me – Bryan cannot be told what to do. He is to be treated as an adult. These are his choices. However, I feel that some sort of “intervention” needs to occur with his OCD need to spend. When Wednesday rolls around, he reminds his staff that this is “his day” to choose what HE wants to do. Entitlement! Drives me crazy. We need to break the shopping/spending cycle. Although we have suggested numerous fun fall activities, he angrily resists.
And, so, I’m hoping that we can address this in a non-condescending way and allow Bryan to come to grips with this issue on his own terms. Allowing him to come up with solutions and alternative activities which still gets him into the community, without breaking the bank.
Wish us luck and stay tuned….