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Q&A for Teens: I Want an iPhone
Q&A for Teens

Q&A for Teens: I Want an iPhone

Many people these days are suffering from “I-deserve-it-It’s-coming-to-me”-itis.


Dear Lauren,

I really want an iPhone. All my friends have one. I know my parents say we can’t afford it, but I think that’s not fair. I’m not sure what my question is—I just know I really want one. Do you have any advice for me?

Shalom from the Holy Land! That’s right—I’m in Israel as I write this. In answer to your question, let me tell you a spiritual story from the spiritual city of Jerusalem. I was praying at the Western Wall three consecutive mornings, and each day I saw the same woman praying sincerely, greeting fellow worshippers pleasantly, and wearing the same rumpled clothing—and the same ripped hose—those three days in a row. Each day, I tried to figure out a way to give this woman some money without embarrassing her.

Finally, on the third day, I remembered a story I had read in Katie Byron’s Loving What Is about a young man who performed a specific random act of kindness. He would take a dollar from his own wallet, purposely drop it on the ground, then tap a kid on the shoulder, pick up the dollar, say to the kid, “Here—you dropped this,” give him the dollar, and walk away.

I plotted and planned how I could do that for this woman. I made sure to finish praying before she did, then waited until she completed her prayers. As she was leaving, I dropped a 20 shekel bill on the ground right near her, tapped her on the shoulder, picked up the bill, and told her (in Hebrew): “Here, this is yours.”

Do you know what this sincere, pleasant, content-looking woman in her dingy clothing said to me? With a big smile? “No, it’s not mine.” She knew she hadn’t had a 20 shekel bill! I pressed the issue again and said, “Yes, this is yours!” Again she smiled, shrugged her shoulders, and said, “No, it’s not mine.” She was honest and sincere, and not tempted at all to take money that she knew wasn’t hers.

You, my friend, along with many, many other people these days, suffer from “I-deserve-it-It’s-coming-to-me”-itis.

Let me tell you another story, also from my stay here in Israel. I went to Yad Vashem (Israel’s Holocaust museum). It describes, in excruciating detail, including video footage, photos, and personal affects, what the Nazis did to the Jews during World War II. I had wanted to see the entire museum, but about halfway through I couldn’t continue because I could not stop crying. The final straw which left me an emotional running faucet was a video taken in the Lodz Ghetto. In each ghetto during the war, the Nazis forced many Jews to live in just a few small streets, they put gates around those streets, the Jews weren’t allowed out, and not much food was allowed in. This video showed many small children in the Lodz Ghetto with skinny skinny arms and stick-thin legs and hollowed-out faces lying listlessly on the sidewalk, sometimes begging for food. Then it showed a six-year-old little girl sitting on the sidewalk against a building, crying horrifically and shaking her (also very very skinny) four-year-old brother again and again, trying to get him to wake up…which he never did.

Luxuries are wants, not needs.

God has given us so much. We have enough food; we’re not starving. We have a house to live in. We have shoes on our feet. We should be dancing and singing and thanking God for his bountiful goodness.

True, we don’t have every luxury we want. But luxuries are wants, not needs. We should all be grateful for what God has given us, thank Him for it, and use our gifts wisely and well to help others and to bring more happiness and peace to the world.

I was once giving a talk to people 80 years old and older. I went around the room asking them what was the happiest day of their lives. Many of the women said, “The days each of my children were born.” Then one man said to me, “The day we were liberated from the ghetto.” The day he didn’t have to starve anymore! His answer struck me with tremendous force. It made me realize: we have nothing to complain about. I’m sorry you can’t have an iPhone, but I think it behooves all of us to be grateful for all the gifts we do have.

June 23, 2012

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Visitor Comments: 23

(17) Nicky Chuck, December 23, 2014 12:31 AM

I understand, but...

We all want what our friends want. The best you can do is save every single penny anyone gives you. Then you might be able to afford it. Or you can get a part time job (like babysitting or pet walking). Maybe you can get better grades, so yur parents can buy you one. I always wanted an iphone. All my friends have the 6. I bugged my mom a little and she let my have her old iphone 4s (I can upgrade later) so she can go get herself the 6. Maybe ask for your parent's iphone so they can upgrade. I am content with my 4s, it's better than my old android.

(16) Anonymous, April 29, 2014 10:36 PM

Bring good marks in your studies

Probably the easiest way to get an iphone/ipad/ipod is to bring top marks if you're in school. With that you can blackmail your parents that if they don't bring you what you want, you won't work hard and won't be top in class. Work done. In my case, my parents don't really care, so i will just get an iphone next month from my dad, and an ipad mini from my aunt, and a mac from my dad again on my birthday. :D

(15) Anonymous, May 30, 2013 6:45 AM


Some people just don't realize how ungrateful they are....
Do you really NEED an iPhone? Aren't you really just going to text your friends and look and go on the internet? Hmm.....I'm pretty sure you can do that on a Blackberry......just go on eBay, search iPhone 5, and I can guarantee it will go higher than $500......go on eBay, search Blackberry smartphone, I guarantee you can find one less than $100......just please stop being ungrateful, if you can pay for it yourself, pay for it, but you REALLY DON'T need an iPhone.

(14) Anonymous, February 24, 2013 8:10 PM

i really want an iphone, but sadly my parents can't afford it. what should i do? i begged them to buy me one for my birthday because i had an old phone which i never liked and i told them that a milion times so they bought me a new one for my b-day.. so i told them to buy me an iphone but they said they can't afford it and they bought me some other phone instead which i hated seriously.. and when i was in school my phone was in my bag and it broke and my parents find out about that .. and i seriously need a new phone now and i don't know what to do. i have this broken phone now for like 3 and a half monts. when we we're on holiday my friend broke her phone.. and her parents just bought her a new one and i'm really jealous ... so what should i do? i allready told my parents that i would give them 100E for it .. and they would pay the rest but they said no .. ,, so i don't know what to do. please help me .

(13) Anonymous, February 9, 2013 3:06 AM

I dont know.....

Honestly Im just like the person who wrote this, I want an Iphone but my family does not think it is the most important thing I need. Which maybe it is but they dont understand, when you go through insecureities, bullies and I know this sounds weird but an iphone makes me feel more secure about myself and I do appreciate everything I have but honestly people just dont understand....

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