Thanks so much for sharing today Michael! Love your perspective 🙂
Simple Living and Simple Kids
What surprised me most about having kids was all the stuff that came along with them. It was like when they came into our home there was a secretly strong gravitational field around them and it sucked things through our doors regardless of what we wanted.
It was the worst when we had our first kid because we don’t know what we really needed ….so we just got everything – diaper bags, cribs, portable cribs, changing pads, changing stations, changing bags, food, spoons, the list was nearly endless. As our kids grew we were quickly caught up in this whirlwind of more and more. But we didn’t have to and you don’t have to either.
Recently our oldest daughter turned five years old and we got her one gift, a bike helmet. We celebrated the day with friends and family, cake and ice-cream, play and laughter. And you know what? She didn’t miss anything. There weren’t any requests for more toys. There weren’t any questions about additional presents. There weren’t cries or moans – just a celebration.
Getting to this point wasn’t easy. Since we started realizing the hidden gravitational pull toward materialism we’ve tried to restrain from getting something we ‘think we need’ to getting only the things we ‘really need’. Our daughters – we have two – don’t get toys just for going to the store because that’s a dangerous trap to fall into. My wife and I also use each other as support to prevent that ‘plastic gift syndrome’. Whenever you buy a gift and give it there is a feeling of temporary satisfaction and elation but it’s a false one because you may be using that gift as a parenting crutch. It’s easier to give gifts than spend time with others and give them the same feelings through time, not toys.
Here are 3 things I think people can do to start minimalism with their kids:
- Begin by explaining simple living/minimalism to your kids. Remember kids have a limited worldview and whatever you introduce to them constructs the majority of what they know and how they view the world. If you introduce – and act – on the idea of having less they will begin to understand that.
- Demonstrate it yourself. Shopping is not a hobby. The internet is full of people like Joshua Fields Millburn who prove that, and write about it.
- Re-think what your defaults are. Tynan has a post about what we consider the default choice. Is it the best choice to shower kids with presents and things all the time? At the holidays? What other ways of celebration might be better.