9 Oct 2007

As parents the decisions we make about how we live our lives directly effect our children's lives. When our children are small, before they start school, home is everything and there is little outside influence. Things are as they are because that's the way it happens in our house, end of story. Children assume that their own family's way is the right way. Living a simple life, making do and not giving in to the demands of a consumer society should be relatively easy. Pester power is at its lowest level especially if commercial television is avoided and outside child care is limited.

Living a simple life without children should also be relatively easy, you only have to say no to yourself.

Living a simple life with school age and teenage children is another matter all together. Dogmatic lines about what will and won't happen have to go , things have to be negotiated. Peer pressure is a part of growing up, learning how to cope with it, finding out where and how you fit in. Parents can't just set an agenda and expect their children to follow without a murmur.

Children learn best by example, what they see happening in their own home will instill itself in them. Teenagers are meant to question their world, to test boundaries and to decide for them selves how they want to be.

We have two teenage sons and a ten year old daughter. Our daughter still believes that as a family we do things the best way. The boys, I'm happy to say, don't seem to think it is all rubbish. There have been times though when they have experienced other homes and wondered why we don't have as many THINGS, why we are not willing to spend money on the latest gadget. But mostly they seem to have grasped the fact that no matter how many THINGS you get there are always more and someone else always has more so it is a competition you can't win.

I think you have to give children ,especially teens , quite a bit of latitude and not force your lifestyle choices on them. Just because you are willing to wear the same clothes for years and wear second hand clothes or home made things doesn't mean you should force that on your children. Littlies don't care and Kate still loves being second hand Rose but the boys are not willing to go there and that's fair. Because they know that our financial resources are limited they are very careful about choosing how they want to spend money, they manage to distill the essence of a current fad and then choose whether to follow or not. Lots of their friends have jobs either to save for a car or pay to keep a car running and so that they can buy THINGS. So far our boys haven't gone down that track and I can only presume it is because their time is more precious to them than THINGS. I'm not sure whether this is good or not but part of me is glad that they haven't chosen to jump on the treadmill just yet.

8 Responses to “THINGS”

  1. Hello Jenny,
    My boys seem to have the same attitude as yours, no part time jobs yet. Like yours they want to have new clothes but seem to manage quite well without the latest gadget.
    This may well change in the future when they are earning but at least they know the basics of living carefully and can always return to that way of life later if they want/need to.

  2. Hi Willow, I just happened to be on line when your comment came through. I have been thinking about whether the lack of paid work means they are not learning a good work ethic but I think they are probably earning the best ethic: that a job well done doesn't have to have financial reward to be worthwhile, that helping the family home to function well is just as important as any paid work.

  3. My children are under the age of 10, and we are so careful to explain to them why we don't do certain things or buy every new gadget. I pray that we are instilling IN them, instead of just telling them what to do. Well done, Jenny. Blessings, Tami

  4. Jenny, I'm not a mother yet, but I have a feeling it's about the parents' attitude: do they love living simply, or do they suffer from it? If children see no joy in their parents' choices, they are more likely to choose something else, like myself being witness to my mother's life.

  5. Jenny,

    Our 3 boys are grown now and although they chose some different paths when they were younger we see them returning more to the way we raised them as they have matured. A good example is healthful eating. They went through phases when they begged for white bread and other not-so-heathful foods but now they are very mindful of what they choose to eat. It even amazes us sometimes!

  6. Helly jenny,
    my children are in the same age and all you say it`s the same to me.
    I have to improove my english as soon as possible to leave longer comments!!!

  7. my two boys are 11 years old. they already think i'm the stupid mom on the planet. lol i do miss the moments before they enter into the outside world alone. i pray for them everyday. for god to keep is hands on them.

  8. Such a beautifully written post, Jenny! Thank you. :)


Thanks so much for taking the time to chat. I don't always have time to reply but I do read every message you leave.