Max often comes across as greedy. I think it is mostly because he is terrible at waiting when he knows there’s something else he can snatch up.
For instance, when we go visit other houses with dogs, Max immediately goes to eat whatever other dog food is lying around. He waits for no one, especially whoever is telling him “no” or the other dog looking confusedly and helplessly at the sight. The same goes for any toys that are lying around – Max will greedily claim them as his.
His greediness with food and toys can be frustrating and embarrassing, but I’ve also noticed a different kind of greediness – Max craves a lot of attention and love.
I imagine that right now, that is partly due to him still adjusting to the new baby in the house and wanting to be in the middle of things when we are playing with her. And so I do try to carve out time in the day where I show him direct attention and he gets to be close by when we play with the baby.
But it never seems to be enough. Max wants more and more love and attention, whether it is from us on a typical day, or from friends who come by for an evening. Max tends not to leave people alone as long as they have an empty hand to pet him.
And that has made me wonder – is there ever a time that it is good to be greedy? Could it be good to be greedy for love?
Love is certainly a good thing and experiencing it is a need of living beings, but I’ve always been taught that greediness is inherently bad – it’s one of the seven deadly sins after all. But then again when Max craves more loving attention, it just doesn’t seem bad, even if it interrupts whatever I am doing.
I think it is complicated because love is a different kind of commodity than food or toys or other tangible items. Love is not just something that is received (at least not at its best), rather it is something that is mutually shared. As much as Max is greedy to receive loving attention from me, he is also eager to show me that he loves and cares for me.
That means the “greediness” is not purely consumption – it is not just Max taking and taking selfishly, which seems to be the evil root of greed. Rather, Max’s greediness is as much a giving as it is a taking, and he teaches me that perhaps if I was more “greedy” to give love to all those around me, the world might be a better place and our connections might be strengthened.
Moreover, when I think about what Max is doing, I see that he is teaching about the importance of assertiveness. Max is asserting his real need for receiving more loving attention and giving more loyal companionship. That kind of assertiveness is important to maintain a healthy, mutual connection of love where he feels needed.
Max has taught me the value of being more assertive in need for love, and the value of really paying attention to the expression of that need. He has taught me that it is not so much a matter of greediness, but really a matter of sharing more abundantly in the loving connection we have.
And ultimately, he has taught me that greediness can be good when it is not just about taking or consuming. When love is in the mix, greediness can help us experience the goodness of boldly giving of ourselves more and more.
So thank you Max for being a little greedy for loving attention and for teaching me the value of assertiveness and abundance when it comes to love.