We live in a Consumeristic world where people define each other by the things they posses. ‘The more you have the better you are’ is what they say.
A materialistic culture exists when we are told that possessing more material things is what will lead to more happiness.
But is that statement really true?
How many of us can say that the material things we posses gives us everlasting joy? Yes, we do get momentary pleasure for example when we hold the new and latest phone in our hand or when we have a new furniture delivered at our door-step, but how long does that joy last?
If there is any truth in that statement then the rich who possess all the material things in the world should be the happiest people on the planet.
Jim Carrey, the famous Hollywood actor quotes
“I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that its not the answer.” – Jim Carrey
“Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless.” – Ecclesiastes 5:10(Bible)
As parents it is important for us to understand the perils of consumerism and its effect on our children so that we can train our children and help them live meaningful lives, chasing that what truly matters.
And it has to start with us, parents.
Our children need to see and experience true joy, happiness and satisfaction in the way we live our lives, the things we value, the way we perceive the world and the way we deal with the temptations of giving in to the demands of this materialistic world.
If we fail to set ourselves as examples to our children and fail to talk about it, then they will learn if from the wrong sources.
Look at how the advertising world is targeting our children’s mind. In the early days children’s products were displayed to parents and they were the ones targeted but now its the other way around. Children are the main focus of all these advertisements which directly reaches out to them through television, Internet, Apps, gaming portals etc.
Therefore, what I think could be a possible solution is a beautiful concept called ‘Minimalist Parenting‘. In a world, that is noisy, competitive, selfish, money-minded – one that is creating confusion, anxiety, restlessness, impatience & chaos, what parents need to do is to cut the conflicting background noise and teach our children to tune in to meaningful pursuits, teach them to prioritize on things that really matter – celebrate people and live in healthy communities.
“Minimalist living is an all inclusive lifestyle – having a minimal, clutter-free environment is a large part of it, but it’s so much more than that. The minimalist lifestyle includes looking at the way you spend your time, your money, and even the way you think.” – The Tiny Life
“Minimalist parenting is a parenting style where you exclude all the non-essentials when it comes to your child’s upbringing, and focus only on the essentials.” – Maitreyee S Ganapathy
We need to teach them that ‘things’ don’t matter, what matters is the people in our lives and the quest for truth and happiness.
My wife and I have always tried to a maintain a minimalist lifestyle since the time we’ve been married. We don’t posses a lot of clothes, in fact both of our clothes fit into just one, two-door closet. We don’t spend money in extravagant furniture, most of the furnitures we possess is either lent out to us or are refurbished ones. The boys don’t have beds in their room, they simply use mattress to sleep on the floor, the rest of the room is used for recreational purposes.
Its not that we cant afford these things, but we have deliberately made that choice for a purpose.
Though our minimalist lifestyle is based on our convictions from our Christian beliefs, we see its impact on our children, in the way they perceive things – never demanding, always content, carefree, inquisitive, enjoying their hobbies, and loving community and family time.
Apparently, homeschooling helps us the pursue this lifestyle more effectively.
But, I think all parents can find a way to adapt a Minimalist Parenting method if they are convinced that this style can help their children sustain themselves in this present Consumeristic culture.
Please feel free to ask questions and share your thoughts in the comments below.