Monday, July 18, 2011

Raising Kids in a Culture of Abundance

This is just something I have been thinking about lately, as a mom and as an American.  We have so much stuff!  If one is good, then 10 must be better...but you know what, maybe none is better.  I have been thinking about how much stuff we have around our house, how we accumulate it and what that is teaching Ruby.  This picture is a great example of how this happens.  Over the weekend, I took Ruby to Trader Joe's and when we went through the checkout, the cashier offered Ruby some stickers and I said it would be fine.  I have to stop for a minute and say that this post is not attempting to say anything against TJ's, you know that I am a loyal fan.  Anyway, she ended up with six stickers, which she quickly stuck to her shirt and then later to the bathroom cabinet, before they got thrown out.  The thing is, she would have been just as happy with one sticker, just like one birthday present would be enough.  It seems we are training our children from an early age that they should have a lot of stuff.  I think next time I'll just ask for one sticker or if I'm brave enough, I might even pass, what do you think?

8 comments:

Tracy said...

Great post. I wonder about this often as well, but I also think about what it would mean for my child to be raised so 'differently' from others...like if she only got one sticker or no sticker when all other kids got six. Does it help her to create a lifestyle that hopefully more people will follow, or does it outcast her and make her unable to cope with the society that will be surrounding her?

29 Palms Military MOPS said...

Beth, I love that you think on this......it is definitely something to consider. A while back a friend who was going on a mission trip asked for clothes, particularly dresses for sunday school for little girls. I thought, how great! My girls can go pick a dress each from their closet to pass on to someone in need. I really wanted this to be a lesson for them but guess what? As we stood in the closet, I was humbled to discover that it was my own attitude that needed adjusting. I kept hoping they wouldn't pick the cutest dresses!!I was also humbled to discover that while we were giving a dress to a little girl so that she could have ONE dress to wear on sundays, my girls had SEVERAL! When we talked about why we were doing what we were doing, my girls amazed me even more, they not only pick their favorite dresses but they wanted to pick more! How could I say no? I was so thankful to God for that experience.
I think it is very wise of you as a momma to consider such things.
We have a friend who has parties for their little girl and ask that if people want to bring gifts they should bring them for the local shelter. Their daughter gets to keep one gift on her birthday and then they make a fun outing to the shelter where she gets to give the rest to others who have needs.
As far as the sticker.....I try to find ways to bring God's word into every part of our lives and I suppose having one or none would teach self control. I try to gauge what is going on in my kids lives, for instance, if they start asking for things when we shop (gum, cookies, dolls, even free stickers or balloons), instead of being offered things, then I stop allowing them to have them for a bit. I think it is good to help them learn that life is not all about instant gratification, delayed gratification or even gratification at all.
I just realized this is a terribly long-winded post. Sorry, I love to consider things about raising my children and teaching them about our Saviour.
Love you Beth!!

Holly said...

Oooops, totally wa signed in to my Military MOPS account when I posted.
Holly Carlson

Brianna Heldt said...

so hard, i know! i'm naturally a bit of a packrat, but having five kids has partially cured me of that.

i find that i just get really TIRED of all the stuff we seem to accumulate, and the fact is that the kids' birthdays, and Christmases, keep coming. SO i try to pare things down.

i'm all about simplicity and really, children just do not NEED all the things we think they do. i so want to cultivate contentment in my kiddos but i know it has to start with me.

anyway, such good things to think about. and ruby is aDORable!!!! miss you guys!

cindy-the vintage hat shop said...

I keep trying to remind myself- "Less is More".
Great post. Thank you.

Beth said...

Great thoughts everyone, this is why I wanted to post about it. It's nice to have people affirm, but also push back. Tracy, I think you make a very good point and I do think we have to think of social ramifications. In the case of the stickers, she had no one to compare to. If she were to have friends over and they complained that she didn't have enough toys, then I would be ok with that. When I was a kid, I always had apple slices and my friends had fruit snacks, I was jealous and even embarrassed sometimes, but I grew up a very healthy eater and I'm pretty sure I'm not socially scarred. I think thoughtfulness trumps avoidance or being extreme.

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alexkeller said...

she will learn a lot of that herself, too. Kyle used to like getting a balloon at the grocery store. they give them out to kids, and they're just regular balloons with helium. so they last less that a day. Kyle doesn't want them anymore - why get one if it won't last? and i could apply that to sooooo many things!

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