Friday, March 26, 2010

Simplicity


One of the subjects chosen by the congregation for our Ten Commandments series was "you shall not covet or crave" so I was intrigued by an article in the Toronto Star earlier this week about a family in Alberta which took on the challenge of not buying anything new for an entire year. What began as a simple family project became a blog http://nothingnewnothingwasted.blogspot.com/ and a popular Facebook page. Their boys are pictured above.

The family had three admirable goals:

1) delaying gratification to help us determine what we really need or want, and how we can find creative ways to acquire those things without further harming the resources of the earth.
2) teaching our children the value of things, dollars, opportunities, and choices.
3) to find out if having less IS having more.

I mention from time to time that according to the gospels Jesus spent a lot more time talking about what we do with money and the importance of simplicity than he ever did talking about sex, but in a materialistic culture we tend to ignore this part of his message.

Have you ever made a goal of living more simply? How did you do? Do you ever feel uncomfortable with the amount of stuff you have accumulated? (I do!) What do we need to do to beat our addictions? Any suggestions for simplifying?

6 comments:

johnny said...

I really admire what this family has done, and I think the lessons they are teaching their children about materialism and needs vs wants are invaluable.

Frankly, due to personal circumstances, I have no choice but to be frugal. On one hand it can be somewhat frustrating, but on another it has made life simpler. I hear my colleagues spending money on this toy or that and having credit card debt, and in my situation, by not having much extra discretionary income, I certainly do not end up accumulating "stuff" and the accompanying debt.

Susan said...

I read that story on Monday - it is part of The Star's month long series on Earth Hour and how simple actions can make a difference. I, too, feel guilty about all the 'stuff' I have acquired. I have tried hard but not as successfully as I would have liked to declutter my life and possessions with my frequent moves over the past 20 years. Having grown up on a farm - the 3R's were a way of life and always practiced and providing your food (meat, vegetables, and fruit) was the norm. Living as single person in an apartment, in a city, and trying to live a simplier life is more challenging. I rely on public transit or rides from family and/or friends, I try not to buy 'new stuff' but to buy second hand. I am looking into a bread box sized heated food composter, I am hoping to grow more vegetables on my balcony this year and I try to buy provincially grown food from the grocers. It doesn't mean I always succeed - I do enjoy my granny smith apples and clemintines in the winter. One of the things that I have been more successful at is at gifting - I gift homemade jams and jellies, bread, cookies, and blank photographed nature notecards. I find it creative, and I try not to give 'dust collector' gifts - I try to make my gifts consumable or an experience. :)

lionlamb said...

I appreciate your comments. The phrase that comes to mind is "necessity is the mother of invention." When my wife Ruth was at home with our three kids I was the wage earner. So there was lots of coupon-cutting, strictly adhered to budgets, recycled clothing, home-cooked meals and baking. We didn't suffer. Two incomes has meant more freedom of choice, but less mindfulness.

Thank you!

lionlamb said...

From reader and granddad Bill:

I AM NOT SURE I HAVE APLAN BUT I HAVE NOW REALIZED THAT MATERIAL THINGS HAVE MUCH LESS VALUE THAN I ONCE THOUGHT.THE PERSONAL LOSSES WE ALL HAVE TO FACE AT SOME POINT IN OUR LIFE BECOME ALL ENCOMPASSING AND OTHER THINGS SEEM OF LITTLE IMPORTANCE.ESPECIALLY THE STUFF WE SUROUND OURSELVES WITH.I WOULD NOW LIKE TO GET RID OF A LOT OF THAT STUFF AND MAYBE I JUST WILL.

I THINK AT MY STAGE IN LIFE MY JOY WILL ONLY COME FROM PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS LIKE FAMILY AND GRANDCHIDREN AND THE SIMPLE THINGS IN LIFE LIKE SUNSETS,SPRING MORNINGS OR THE UNCONDITIONAL LOVE OF MY DOGS WHEN I WAKE IN THE MORNING JUST MAYBE I NEED A PLAN..MAYBE I HAVE STARTED AS I AM NO LONGER AQUIRING.

No New is Good News said...

Hi there, I am delighted to see this family taking on the challenge that I also have taken on this year. I have been blogging on 'No New is Good News' since my Jan. 1st commitment to not buy anything new for a year (www.nonewfortara.blogspot.com) but am wowed by a mom and dad with 3 kids doing the same!
On a personal note, my wife and I were married a year and a half ago in a lovely united church officiated ceremony in Toronto and I have to tip my hat to your church and it's welcoming policy to LGBT couples.
cheers
Tara

lionlamb said...

Thanks for adding to the conversation Tara.