Opinion

He teaches me

Sometimes it’s hard to remember how lucky we are. We get so caught up in the newest thing and how we think we are perceived to other people that we become one thing:

            Unsatisfied.

            When our phones work perfectly fine, we toss them aside because a new one came out. We need extravagance. We need more. We need it all.

            I think oftentimes we forget that we have everything we need. It’s not easy to be satisfied with the little things because we are focused on what we don’t have.

            My older brother, Tanner, is not like this.

Tanner has autism, and is pleased by the simplest things. He is turning 26 in a few days, and when I asked him what he wants, he said, “I would like Wild Berry Lifesavers and Tropical Skittles for my birthday from you.”

            Most people would ask for gift cards, money and the latest XBox. Tanner just wants candy, because that’s what will make him happy. He will get to sneak some candy into the movies and have a nice day.

            Things like this always give me some perspective, and it makes me feel bad for the people who are so concerned with their image. Tanner is the happiest person I know, and that is a testament to how little things actually matter. He isn’t concerned with material things, and he’s happy.

            He doesn’t let the void of things determine his worth.

            It really all boils down to the fact that we are all insecure. We buy these things to make us feel like we have value, or to show them to other people so that they think we have value, but that’s not what does it.

            What makes us have value is our ability to love, forgive and see the best in other people. These are three qualities that everyone should strive to have. They are also three qualities that I see in my brother.

            Not to say that Tanner doesn’t have privilege, because he does, but when things make him happy, that’s it.

He still plays with his original GameBoy, even though he has a newer model just because he likes it. He has a flip phone because he likes the way it fits into his shirt pocket. He takes weekly walks to the library because he doesn’t like to read on a tablet.

In short, he’s a better person than most people. He’s certainly a better person than I am.

Tanner shows me that material things aren’t important. He shows me that it doesn’t take much to be happy. He shows me how to be a better person.

There may never be a day when I am not concerned with what people think, and I’m positive that I will always be envious of those who have the latest gadgets, but Tanner allows me to see that those things are not important.

I think we all need some perspective sometimes, and I’m grateful that I have someone so sweet, generous and kind to offer me some.