Sunday, April 20, 2008

Living it

By special request this morning... reading in the shark tent.

It snowed here this weekend. Snowed. I think this was one of only a couple snowy days at our house this entire winter and it's April. Brrrr...I hope it warms up soon. jumbled thoughts on our trip to Seattle! With two little kids in tow we couldn't sit at any one booth for too long so our conversations with people were sometimes very short. But we met some wonderful individuals with some great things to say. We didn't really learn anything too new but we both left there feeling an even greater commitment to our health and to the environment.

We've felt a further need this past week to simplify our home. To clear out things we don't need. To take a second look at our stuff and find a new purpose and if not, than a new home for them. I don't want to be such a consumer because the truth's never enough. We can buy and buy until our house is filled and then there will always be more to buy. A better rug, a newer TV, another toy that will be broken in a week. It never ends.

I've linked to the Story of Stuff before but it's so worth another look. Everything we buy comes from somewhere and it's touched many many hands to get to ours.

All of this has left me feeling a greater responsibility in parenting. How can I raise the boys to think about other people first? How can I raise them to think of other countries and how our buying and our throwing away impacts them? To be thoughtful and mindful and to take care of the world around them? And this means where their food comes from... is it locally grown? Was the animal treated humanely?... to the products they are buying... is it fair trade?

The only answer I can come up with is to live it, to demonstrate for them what it all looks like.

"Children will learn far more from your daily attitude in the home than they will learn from what you teach them."
-Nancy Campbell

I have this written on my fridge as a daily reminder because it's true on many, many levels and in every area of our life. When I was bringing my Grandma home from the hospital last week after her surgery, she said a scripture to me that I can't seem to get out of my head. Psalm 71: 17-18:

Since my youth, O God, you have taught me,
and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.
Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me O God,
till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.

And Proverbs 22:6:

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.

I'm realizing more and more how the building blocks for character are formed at this young age. Our greatest desire is to show and teach the boys now who God is and how to have a personal relationship with Him. And with that, we want them to see the responsibility we have to take care of the earth that God has given us and that includes the animals and people that live here on it with us. I want them to tend to a garden, not trash it. I want them to spend summers in Africa building wells for villages to have fresh water. And all of that starts at home.

We spent Saturday night, eating with good friends, and talking about similar ideas. Then we spent the rest of the weekend going through our basement and gathering things we no longer need or use. We sold some of them and gave the rest away on Craigslist and Goodwill. And now the decluttering bug has hit me so I'm searching for more to get rid of. I think we'll get the boys involved too and have Ian pick out a few of his things to donate or give away.

I think what I've realized most of all is that changing one thing at a time is far more productive than thinking about everything and doing nothing.



Annagrace said...

I agree--the hardest part always seems to be where to begin, because so much of what we do on a daily basis is part of the "American way" of spend, spend, spend, consume, consume, always have new everything. It's quite honestly why J and I are committed to not always having new cars, new toys, bigger and better electronics even though it's his industry and they would be easy (and often cheap) to come by--it would just be more STUFF. And then we spend so much time taking care of our STUFF instead of spending time with other people and actually doing something worthwhile...I know--go write your own post!

Anyway, more food for thought as always. Had such a good time with you guys!

Karli said...

Hi Andrea, I'm kind of obsessive about getting rid of stuff. There will always be the memory boxes, but other than that, what doesn't get used for x amount of time gets passed on. In fact, I've already passed on Juniper's baby swing, vibrating chair, and floor gym. She could still use those things, but it just felt like we had too much around here. Anyway, good for you! I'm glad you enjoyed the festival last weekend. Sounds interesting. I haven't made it to the Portland one, but plan to next time around. --Karli

The Lehmans said...

I have the de-stuff bug too. I just cleaned out the boys' play room of about three garbage bags worth of stuff! It's shameful that we even had that much to begin with! I will be having one massive yard sale this summer, that's for sure! And we are going to buy a tent with the money we earn. So we can show the boys what "REAL" fun is! That's funny that you spent the morning reading books in the shark, mine spent yesterday in their little tent reading books! Hope it warms up soon for ya!

Karli said...

Okay, looks like blogger does it to you, too. I've been trying, even with landon's help, to fix my "Fried Pork Rinds" post in which the font spacing changes fater I blockquote and center text before it. Ask Jeremy if he can figure it out!