Whenever I tell people I am an only child they suddenly have this impression that I must be or have been spoilt. Sure, my parents were and still tend to be overly protective and paranoid over me, but I will say I am anything but spoilt.
As a kid I had a lot of toys and play things, people saw that and assumed I was spoilt. What they didn’t know was I didn’t get every single toy or plaything I wanted instantly. Sometimes I would give up hope of getting something and then I got it. I simply didn’t get everything I asked for.
As I grew up, more and more I learnt to be content with what I had. I learnt that it was not worth it to ruthlessly try to acquire material things. I know, I am a shopaholic, but I always spend my own money and never get with anyone because of money for a shopping trip. I try to never go irrational longing for some material possession; if I must get something then I save up or dig into my savings. (Or add it to my ever-growing wish list and drop hints; case in point I’ve just added an iPhone to my wish list).
Of course I acknowledge that certain only kids are spoilt but such generalisations hurt those who aren’t. The spoilt kid syndrome is certainly not restricted to only kids; even kids from large families often end up spoilt and equate material possessions to love.
Contentment doesn’t destroy ambition and doesn’t mean settling. To me it implies understanding your situation, finding things to be grateful for and seeking (honest) means to get to where you want to be.
Contentment is a great life lesson because one gets tested on this ever so often. Prepare to ace it!