Simple Living in a Materialistic World
We were sitting in the family room. My kids had finished their first day back at school after the holiday break, and my wife was working late. Michael, my six-year-old son, was finger knitting. Sarah, my eight-year-old, was knitting a scarf. I sat near them and folded clothes. Occasionally someone would share something that had happened during the day, but otherwise it was quiet.
And as we sat there doing our chores, I began to appreciate this time we were spending together. The orgy of presents, travel, and Christmas cookies was over. The routines and rhythms of the work week had begun again. My kids needed structure as badly as I did. We were getting it by being together in this quiet, simple way.
As I sat there folding clothes, I marveled at how little we really needed to be happy. It was quite enough just to be together as we did our work. Many of the gifts my kids received for Christmas were already put away. As often happens, there was a brief flurry of excitement when the gifts were first discovered. Shortly after, the thrill of ownership faded away. And while my kids may be too young to understand it, I'd like them to know that possessions don't really make them happy. When you live in a consumer-driven and materialistic society, it's just the message you receive. As author Christopher Lasch states, "A mass advertising culture creates consumers who are perpetually unsatisfied, restless, anxious, and bored."
I'd like my kids to know someday that the pursuit of possessions has made more people unhappy than happy, and that it actually ends up limiting their freedom of choice in the world. I'd like them to know that possessions can keep them focused on their own self-interest, rather than focusing on how they can benefit others. And I'd like them to know that one of the keys to a happy life is the pursuit of simple pleasures, which, in today's day and age, is an act of courage.
I thought about all of the possessions I had somewhere in the house. How many of them had I really used in the last 6 months? How many of them really had an impact on my life or made me happy beyond the first few minutes of receiving them?
Only a handful.
And as I sat there with my kids enjoying our time together, I sensed that more trips to the Goodwill were in order, as well as a greater commitment to simple living in our family. John Burroughs, the nineteenth-century naturalist, observed that "the number of things we can really make our own is limited. We cannot drink from the ocean be we ever so thirsty. A cup of water from the spring is all we need."
As parents in America today, we're often made to feel thirsty. We're made to feel as though we need to provide the latest gadgets for ourselves and for our children. And it seems that at the rate we're going, these gadgets will cost us most of our money and most of our time.
Don't be fooled. All that you and your kids really need is a "cup of water from the spring." It may not impress your neighbors, but it will help your family to feel happier.
It may even change your attitude about folding clothes!
Mark Brandenburg MA, CPCC, coaches busy parents by phone to balance their life and improve their family relationships. For a FREE twenty minute sample session by phone, ebooks and courses for fathers, articles, and a FREE weekly newsletter, go to http://www.markbrandenburg.com. or email him at email@example.com.
The Thing with Quality Time
It's funny how people seem to think that they have spent quality time with their kids after work by bringing them out to the mall for a lifeless and meaningless stroll only to come home with nothing more than a whole bunch of stuff that they (or the kids) don't need. In fact, time has been wasted because kids don't NEED you to bring them out to the shopping mall to waste time.
Is Your Child Becoming A Praise Junkie?
Do you praise your child when he fulfils a basic bodily function? Do you praise your child for obeying the laws of gravity? Do you give praise for simple socialisation procedures that your child practises every day?No, you say. Have you ever praised your child for finishing all his meal? Ever praised a child for staying on his bike or perhaps staying vertical on roller-blades? Ever praised a toddler for their terrific smile and fantastic manners?In the last few decades parents in many parts of the world including the US.
Am I Really A Stroller-Monger?
I was reading "A Modern Infant Armada", a humor column in Maclean's Magazine written by a fellow humor columnist. Writing about it now is a bit like a painter painting another painter or a singer singing about another singer (but it not like a cook cooking another cook.
Homework Help for the Attention Deficit Child
Does the homework battle so typical with your hyperactive or A.D.
Children Cooperate When Appreciated
Do you want your child to cooperate with you more?Children are much more likely to cooperate with adults who like being with them and who let them know they are worthwhile. This builds a level of trust and a feeling of safety.
Teaching Your Child Safety
Q. What is the best way to teach safety awareness to young children?A.
The Graceful Art of Defrazzling - For Mothers
"I wipe my baby's chin with my college diploma and wonder, 'How did I ever get here?'"-- Joy Rose from the band "Housewives on Prozac"I'm sure any mom on the planet can relate to that quote and the sense of exhaustion and bewilderment that it implies. Let's face it, ladies, after cooking, cleaning, caring, chauffeuring, and "career-ing" we're pretty frazzled - physically, emotionally, spiritually and intellectually.
Helping Your Child Develop
Here are some things that you can do to help your child develop.Show your child that you care about him and that you are dependable.
Understanding A Childs Beliefs, Nuturing Young Beliefs
Children are moral and make moral determinations..
Visiting the Library
Libraries offer more than books. They are places of learning and discovery for everyone.
SMUT Spelled Backwards is TUMS
Why are more people, especially parents not outraged?I call it SMUT - Selling Made Under Titillation.It seems that more and more corporations are chasing the dollar to the demise of the family.
Book Review: The Ring Bear Depicts Turmoil of Becoming A Stepchild
In "The Ring Bear," a picture book by Tigard resident David Michael Slater (Flashlight Press, 2004), a single mother and her son, Westley, love to play rascally pirates. Like many single parents and their kids, it's clear the mom and her son are incredibly close: They've created their own fantasy world about Westley the Wicked and Mom the Mean.
Psychological Effects of Child Abuse
Many children who suffer from the psychological effects of child abuse often become child abusers themselves or can become perpetrators of violent crimes. Many inmates in our jails and prisons have been victims of child abuse.
Parents and Children Working Together
When parents help their children learn to read, they help open the door to a new world. As a parent, you can begin an endless learning chain: You read to your children, they develop a love of stories and poems, they want to read on their own, they practice reading, and finally they read for their own information or pleasure.
Should Your Child Watch TV News? Surprising Opinions of Top Anchors
KIDS AND THE NEWSMore than ever, children witness innumerable, sometimes traumatizing, news events on TV. It seems that violent crime and bad news is unabating.
10 Tips for Making Daily Physical Activity Part of Your Childs Life!
Here's some of the bad news about sedentary lifestyles:? Forty percent of children ages 5 to 8 show at least one heart disease risk factor, including hypertension and obesity, which among children has doubled over the past two decades.? The first signs of arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) are appearing at age 5 - something never before seen in anyone under the age of 30.
The Mystery of Child Beliefs, Spirit in Children, Understanding Spirtuality in Children
In the wonderment of childhood, it is easier for a child to find Spirit and belief than it is for adults! Tainted with the experiences of the mundane world, sadly a downhill experience of late, adults can become jaded, defensive, argumentative and nonbelievers. Not so with the purity and innocence of childhood.
Educational Toys - How Do Parents Choose The Best Toys For Their Child
The choices are mind numbing. Walk into any toy store or the toy section of any department store and there are shelves and tiers of toys labeled 'educational toys'.
Assertiveness: Key to Better Parenting
I have always been aware of my number one weakness: non-assertiveness. But I have come a long way from the time when I couldn't say 'no' to a child molester and not understanding the importance of telling my parents.
Managing Your Stepfamily
If you are a member of a stepfamily, you know how difficult it can be to integrate all of the new members and adjust to the new boundaries and rules. The following ideas may help you make a successful transition during this challenging process.
|home | site map|